Long a fixture of the Houston music scene, Fitzgerald’s is operating with a different booking group these days, but rest assured- Fitzgerald’s isn’t going anywhere. Since 2010 concert promotions group Pegstar has been in charge of the performance schedule at Fitzergerald’s, but that changed last fall when Pester departed to manage their own new venue, the White Oak Music Hall, set to open this spring. The new facility just north of downtown will feature two indoor stages and one outdoor, and is poised to give Fitzgerald’s a run for its money. Don’t count Fitz out just yet, though. The site has drawn comparisons to famed venues such as New York’s CBCG, LA’s The Roxy, and Austin’s Antone’s, with a long and storied history of hosting bands just on the cusp of their big break.
Many a big name has appeared at Fitzgerald’s throughout the years, including The Ramones, Tina Turner, Flogging Molly, ZZ Top, The Lumineers, REM, Sonic Youth, Blue October, and maybe even Elvis Presley, depending who you believe. There isn’t much in the way of proof that he ever actually performed there and this particular part of Fitz’s history is up for debate, but some Houstonians swear he did. Fitzgerald’s has served as a launching pad for so many legendary acts that it’s hard to keep track, and is the undisputed heart of Houston’s live music scene. In fact, it’s been rumored that Stevie Ray Vaughn’s hit “The House is a Rockin” was inspired by his visit to Fitzgerald’s!
Fitzgerald’s was constructed in 1918 and for the first half of its life, it was called Dom Polski, a popular Polish community center and dance hall. In 1977 it was purchased by realtor Sara Fitzgerald, who turned it into a legendary live music venue. With the departure of Pegstar, General Manager and Managing Partner Lauren Oakes assumed responsibility for operations of the popular facility, alongside Graham Williams from Austin’s Transmission Events. After only a few months, Oakes and Transmission Events also ended their relationship with Fitzgerald’s, a surprising turn of events attributed to a slow pace of planned renovations and disagreements between the various partners involved in the project. Josh Merritt became General Manager upon their departure, but now he, too, has left due to disagreements about the rent between recent tenant Dacondo Casey and Sara Fitzgerald. It seems Sara Fitzgerald is managing things herself for the time being. The continuing saga of Fitzgerald’s ever-changing management has been a topic of enthusiastic debate among Houston’s music insiders and the building’s neighbors are curious to see how things will pan out.
Aside from the revolving door of management and booking personnel, big changes are taking place at Fitzgerald’s, including the addition of a beer garden, additional parking, upgraded sound and lighting systems, new restroom facilities (a very much needed update, in our opinion) and a more effective air conditioning system. While the famous green building might be slightly less dive-y in the future and management is still up in the air, rest assured, when the dust settles, it will still be the same old Fitzgerald’s Houstonians know and love and will continue to host new generations of bands on the brink of making it big.
For more information, please visit: http://www.houstonpress.com/music/fitzgeralds-will-be-just-fine-says-new-manager-7863809
Source: Houston Press