Kent Stage reopening after renovations bring it back to life


Photo courtesy of The Kent Stage Facebook.

Sam Wright Reporter

Kent Stage is out with the old and in with the new as renovations are making the building come back to life. 

Entertainment has been brought to Northeast Ohio at Kent Stage since 2002. Live music will be brought back to Kent Stage on July 30 with special guests “Steve Earle & the Dukes.” Steve Earle sings country, American rock and folk music. Tickets are being sold on Eventbrite for $45. 

Tom Simpson, the owner of Kent Stage, explained how the building has been upgraded during the renovations. Simpson strives to give his customers a brand new experience with a new and improved venue. 

“A greatly updated and improved venue which will have new seats, restrooms, carpeting, bar, merchandise area, doors and entrance,” Simpson said. 

Not only will the audience have a new space, but the artists will as well. Simpson explained that the artists will have new dressing rooms, restrooms backstage and catering area. Kent Stage’s new makeover will create a new atmosphere for everyone involved. 

“People coming to the Kent Stage are going to have a new experience. We’re putting in new HVAC systems with filtration that will kill viruses,” he said. 

Robert Burford, public relations representative for Kent Stage, has worked for Kent State for 26 years and now has his own PR business. He explained that there’s been a huge demand for normal things since COVID-19. 

“When people are talking about getting out and doing things is live music. There is just a wellspring of demand there that the Kent Stage and venues across the country will be tapping into,” Burford said. 

More than 17 shows have been booked between July 30 and December 17.  The artists booked through the rest of the year present a variety of different genres. To find the events for Kent Stage, go to this link

“Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, a great Irish band called the High Kings, a couple of bluegrass acts, one named Del McCoury and the other named Yonder Mountain String band,” he said.

COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, especially for small businesses. According to PNAS, 41.3% of businesses reported that they were temporarily closed because of COVID-19. Burford explains that the upside to the pandemic is that the Kent Stage was able to tackle much needed repairs and renovations.

Live music has always been a huge demand, and now that the pandemic is slowing down people are ready to enjoy music again. 

“I love to celebrate artistry and the economic power that it represents. It is almost hard to overestimate the economic impact that the Kent Stage has on the city of Kent,” he said. 

Burford explains the impact on thousands of people in one week, most of which are not from Kent. People come to see these bands in the city of Kent because they aren’t playing anywhere else. 

“We’re in for a great fall getting back into the swing of things and have that as a part of our life in Kent and Northeast Ohio,” he said. 

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Sam Wright is a reporter. Contact them at [email protected].