Valarium / Cider House

The Valarium (left) and the Cider House (right)

The Valarium / Cider

House

1213 Western Avenue – Knoxville, TN 37921 – (865)-522-2820

The Valarium is a fairly new entertainment venue in Knoxville that caters to a unique mix of people. It is primarily used as a concert hall for various musicians and bands and hosts Voodoo, a dance club, on Saturday nights. The Cider House, which opened about a year ago, is located next to the Valarium and serves as a venue for smaller shows (with around a 600 person capacity compared to the Valarium’s 1200). It hosts Temple, an alternative (gothic/industrial/punk) dance night on Fridays.

The building the Valarium is located in is actually a converted warehouse, serving to enhance the vibe of the various alternative shows that tend to frequent the location. In 2007 the Electric Ballroom became the Valarium after being purchased by the

An inside view of the Cider House, used for smaller shows

previous owner of BlueCats. In the three years it has been around however, the Valarium has become an extremely popular venue that hosts many well-known (and not so well-known) bands and musicians, such as Modest Mouse, Between the Buried & Me, Major Lazer, and AFI among many others. Voodoo on Saturday nights has provided an alternative to the frequented college bars and clubs on the Strip, and is hosted by DJ’s Slim Diesel, DJ Alfred, and VJ Toro. The Valarium is also the main location for the region’s underground metal shows, with the industrial-feel of the ex-warehouse and surrounding industrial locations adding to the ambiance of the heavy hitting music.

A view of the tour bus that will be converted into a bar

The Valarium is seeking to refine its image however, and take a new direction by trying to cater to a wider variety of bands and music types. With a wider selection of music types being brought to the location, the Valarium can grow into a more mainstream entertainment venue in Knoxville. There are already plans to create a new bar in an old tour bus parked outside the building, hopefully inviting more patrons to come and allowing another place for people to go after a show gets out.

A UH257 Perspective

-Zach Johnson

The Valarium of Knoxville showcases one of the best examples of how a setting and mood can enhance a performance exponentially. Converting a warehouse into an alternative performance venue not only exemplifies reviving and reusing urban space but also shows great foresight into the future of the building’s performance potential. Its location between Fort Sanders, Downtown, and the interstate, along with the atmosphere of the place also helps to connect it to the people it is designed to entertain.

Mainstage at the Valarium

When first driving (or walking) to the Valarium, it might be easy to assume one is lost with all the dirty, gloomy warehouses that line the roads leading to the Valarium. It also might scare the average person used to city lights and bustling streets when it is discovered that the Valarium sits under the interstate, surrounded by gravel and concrete lots, with only two neon green signs to identify the place as a concert hall and dance club.

The surrounding area

But this journey to the venue actually adds to the perception of the performance that is taking place at the Valarium.

With many of the shows taking place at night, the old industrial style of the Valarium provides something unique that many rock and metal bands are looking for from a venue. Because it is one of the few venues of this type in this region, the Valarium / Cider House does not suffer from other places drawing culture away from its building, and has a chance to be the destination for fans seeking a rock or metal concert in the East Tennessee region.

Uncle Kracker arriving at the Valarium, one of the many artists that perform here

Page created by Zach Johnson.  Last update: 5/13/2010

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