Chesterfield, MO (July 16, 2021)—Tonight, a new venue outside St. Louis, The Factory, opens its doors for the first time with a sold-out Deadmaus show—and while there are other new facilities opening post-pandemic that can welcome up to 3,000 guests at a time, The Factory is unique because it’s the Midwest’s first newly built venue in more than 40 years.
“We drew on our experiences working in other venues across the country over the last 15 to 20 years,” says Brian Carp, COO, discussing the venue’s development. “Most of the time, you go into a building and as an operator, you have to figure out how to make it work, because it’s either a historical or renovated building. Being able to create a ground-up build, we were able to pick and choose elements that we love from specific venues, and avoid some of the pitfalls from buildings that we had inherited. We could design The Factory in a way that made the most sense to operate, as well as to experience from both the fans’ and the bands’ perspectives.”
If The Factory is unique, so are its surroundings, as it’s a key anchor attraction for The District at Chesterfield, a former outlet mall turned entertainment destination that serves up everything from golf to arcades. Following a 2018 feasibility study (Feasible? Oh yeah—there’s more than 1 million people within a 25-minute drive), the developers worked with Sustaita Architects to design the facility; Chiodini Architects to create the exterior; O’Toole Design Associates to develop the interiors; and acoustical consultants Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams to fine tune the venue’s sound.
“WJHW did heat maps and 3D renderings of the venue to see where we would get reverberations and bounce-back off the walls,” says Carp. “Then we utilized Logic Systems, a local sound and lights vendor that’s very well known in St. Louis, to do our install. Having it be one of the best-sounding rooms in the country was a goal of mine, and of everyone involved in the project.”
The result, says talent buyer Dan Merker, is a venue that delivers on audiences’ expectations, sporting an audio installation built around Midas Heritage D mixing consoles at Front of House and monitorworld, and a sizable L-Acoustic K2 loudspeaker system. “The acoustics in the room are unbelievable,” he says. “For the size of the venue, the K2 rig is fantastic to have. Also, our house system is flown on a track, so if a band is traveling with PA and they want their d&b rig, our PA simply slides back on the tracks and they can fly right in front of it. We won’t have the added expense of taking our rig out and putting another one in. Little elements like that go a long way.”
Some of the other elements created with visiting talent and crews’ needs in mind include five dressing rooms, a private production office, a catering room with outdoor deck, stage-level load-in across four loading docks, and space for three tour buses. The amenities’ inclusion comes from real-world experience. “Brian used to run The Fox out in Boulder, Colorado for AEG, then went to work for Live Nation,” says Merker. “I’ve always been on the promoter side as an independent, so when you travel as a rep, you go through hundreds of venues, and things like ‘hey, we should have two washers and dryers for a tour’s crew so a runner doesn’t have to go to a laundromat’ were crystal clear to us. Any step we could take to make them feel like they’re at home is what we wanted.”
With everything from The Beach Boys to Billy Bob Thornton to Brockhampton scheduled to play The Factory in the coming months, those amenities will be put to good use. The drive to create an enjoyable space for talent, crews and audiences wasn’t just smart business, however; there was civic pride at stake, too. “Dan’s originally from St. Louis, I’m originally from St. Louis, the developer is a longtime St. Louis native, our assistant general manager is from St. Louis and moved back to work here,” says Carp. “We’re not some big corporation coming in, trying to make our mark and have it feel like a local venue when it really isn’t. There’s a lot of hometown love put into The Factory.”
The Factory • www.thefactorySTL.com