Worcester Palladium Fundraising More Than $20K Short of Goal
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Palladium, a music venue known for their connections with rock and heavy metal music genres, has been attempting to raise money since the beginning of the year in an effort to update their building both inside and out.
Repairs to the building’s classic art deco style architecture, as well as updates to the sound system and other music technology are key areas of focus. There are also three floors of vacant office space above the venue that have been in need of repair and repurposing for decades.
But having made only $3,000 in two months of fundraising, the Worcester Palladium Restoration Project’s indiegogo.com campaign has been less than impressive. While the website does allow for any funds raised to be kept regardless of whether or not the project reaches its goal, it’s hard to imagine what the Palladium can do with less than a fifth of what they were hoping to raise.
“While we do hope to see a spike in donations in the coming months, this is not a project that we are willing to give up on,” said Jillian Miller, marketing director for the Palladium. “We recognize the importance of this venue as a historic part of downtown Worcester and a vital part of the local music scene.”
While the donations may seem dismal, the staff at the Palladium remains optimistic. Although the indiegogo.com campaign was one of their more advertised means of fundraising, Miller acknowledges that it is not their only means of raising money for the renovations, which include both cosmetic and functional repairs.
“The indiegogo campaign is only a small part of the fundraising efforts,” said Miller. “The bulk of our donations happen in-house. We have set up a donation box at the venue where people can donate as they leave the venue. We also have our first-ever Palladium t-shirts available for purchase at our box office and during shows.”
The Palladium has also turned to advertising as a means of raising renovation funds by giving businesses opportunities to sponsor the VIP room, stages or events in exchange for exclusive naming rights.
All means of revenue are currently being put to good use by the Palladium, as they have already began to make some renovations, something that began before the renovation project was even announced. And although the first round of online fundraising may not have been a success, the Palladium plans to continue using online crowd funding in the future.
“We have plans for a second round of crowd funding later in the year and people will still be able to make donations online throughout the year via Paypal or at the venue,” said Miller. “We still have a lot more in store for the coming year so everyone keep an eye out for what we have planned next!”
The Palladium set up a two month window in hopes that they could raise a total of $25,000 through the site, with a year-end goal of $1 million. The Palladium offered seven tiers of prizes ranging from a $20 “Jump the Line Pass” to a $25,000 “Lifetime Pass” to the venue. T-shirts, private tours, and signing the stage were other prizes offered to donors.
The decision to use indiegogo.com for fundraising came down to the realization of the internet being a great tool to capture a wide audience. Although the fundraising goal was not met, the Palladium saw donation come from near and far, with one of the furthest donations coming from Germany.
“We receive a lot of feedback from people who grew up at the Palladium and although they moved away, still have found memories of the venue and want to see it succeed,” said Miller. “An internet campaign was our attempt to reach beyond our four walls and give people across the world the opportunity to be a part of this renovation.”
Previous Renovation Projects
The proposed renovations are not the first time the Palladium has been renovated since the building opened for business in November of 1928, when it was known as the Plymouth Theater and used as a movie theater and vaudeville performance venue.
According to archived information found at the Worcester Historical Museum’s library, five major renovation projects have occurred in the buildings history between 1967 and 1996.
The first major renovation project was a remodeling project in response to Worcester’s urban renewal phase. The $250,000 project included new carpeting, pebble-finished walls, and new lighting fixtures, and was completed between 1967 and 1968.
One of the largest renovation projects occurred in January of 1987 and was cut off after the project’s total reached $750,000. The renovations were designed to be completed in two phases, the first being to the theater and the second to the three stories of office space above the theater. The renovations were delayed from January to August, forcing the building to be closed for eight months. Before stopping the renovations suddenly in 1988, replastering and repainting the theater, laying new carpeting, repairing some of the plumbing, and adding handicapped-accessible bathrooms were completed.
During the 1990s, two renovation projects were completed. The first, when the building was bought by John C. Fischer and John L. Sousa in 1990, totaled $500,000 and was used to convert the buildings theater space into a concert venue and nightclub. A second round of renovations was completed in 1996 after a second mortgage was taken out on the building.
Now in the hands of MassConcerts, who purchased the building from Fischer and Sousa at the very end of 2013 after promoting and booking concerts out of the building since 1999, the current staff hopes that these most recent renovations will be the ones to finally return the building to its former glory so that it can help the overall economy and art community of Worcester.
“The Worcester Palladium is nothing if not a community,” said Miller. “To me, The Palladium is the symbol of Worcester's emerging arts community. Just as I believe our city is doing, the Palladium is emerging from the flames of the past decade, in which a lot of small, local businesses have taken a hit; but I believe, with the help of our patrons, our venue will shine brighter than ever in the coming years.”
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If you like punk and metal, the Palladium is your perfect night out. Having hosted acts like Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, and My Chemical Romance, the Palladium continues to feature the best of the genre (as well as some others—Moby, Bob Dylan, and Kanye West, to name a few). Ticket prices vary by performer, and all shows are general admission unless otherwise noted.
261 Main St, Worcester. 508-797-9696. www.thepalladium.net
During the week, Jillian’s is the perfect place to chill—there’s a bar, pool tables, and a game room. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s a cozy concert hall—beginning at 9:30, local bands from hard rock to reggae take the stage.
315 Grove St, Worcester. 508-793-0900. www.jilliansworcester.com/
Beatnik’s came into existence as a place to “be you”—an homage to the mid-20th-century subculture from which it borrows its name. It has a unique but cozy atmosphere and great food as well as live music. If you’re over 21, check it out.
433 Park Ave, Worcester. 508-926-8877. www.beatniksbeyou.com
Lucky Dog Music Hall
If you’re over 21, come check out this longstanding and highly praised Worcester music hall. Catering to rock fans, Lucky Dog has live music almost every night of the week, with 80s tribute band Flock of Assholes appearing every Thursday.
89 Green St, Worcester. 508-363-1888. www.theluckydogmusichall.com
Ralph’s Rock Diner
Ralph’s has something for everybody—Cinemageddon on Sundays, poetry on Mondays, guest bands and DJs on Tuesdays, trivia and karaoke on Wednesdays, Metal Thursdays, and live music on Fridays. For Ralphs, too, though, make sure you’re over 21!
148 Grove St, Worcester. 508-753-9543. www.ralphsrockdiner.com
Nick’s Bar and Restaurant
Why should you have to wait for the weekend for a night out? Nick’s hosts acts every night. Kick back with a beer and a snack from the new menu and listen to the best of Worcester’s live music.
124 Millbury St, Worcester. 508-753-4030. http://www.nicksworcester.com/
The Hanover Theater
If you prefer a large and regal stage to a small lounge and Broadway tunes to rock, try the Hanover Theater. This venue hosts traveling shows as well as speakers—Rudy Giuliani, Tony Bennett, and Cirque Dreams Holidaze are all coming up in the next month.
2 Southbridge St, Worcester. 877-571-SHOW. www.thehanovertheatre.org
JJ Sports Bar and Grill
Just outside of Worcester in Northboro, JJ’s hosts live music every Friday and Saturday and trivia every Tuesday and Thursday! Now that the World Series is over, there might not be as much to see, but JJ’s is also equipped with many HD televisions and a state-of-the-art sound system, so you can watch the game while you wait for the bands to play. 380 Southwest Cutoff, Northboro. 508-842-8420. www.jbag.biz.
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