US Venue Spotlight – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

The legendary Minneapolis Danceteria First Avenue returns to Independent Venue Week for a second year in a row. First Avenue has been the epicenter of live music and entertainment in Minneapolis since 1970 when a music venue was opened in an old Greyhound Bus Depot. Yes, that is over 45 years ago! This makes First Avenue one of the longest-running independently owned and operated clubs in the United States.

As the single longest-running music venue in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, First Avenue has deep and far-reaching roots in its community. On top of its long history, First Avenue is a concert-goer’s dream, housing two separate performance spaces in one building—it continues to grow and books over 1,000 shows annually between the First Avenue Mainroom, 7th St Entry, and its St. Paul sister venue, the Turf Club.

First Avenue’s impact stretches far beyond its main locations, as it also curates events outside its own properties, often putting shows in other Minneapolis venues such as Northrup Auditorium, the historic Hennepin Theaters, the Fine Line, Triple Rock Social Club, and Assembly Hall at the Women’s Club. It also supports a number of music events including Hall’s Island, Festival Palomino, and Summer Set Music & Arts Festival.

First Avenue is one of those rare venues that foster relationships with artists at all stages in their careers. Its dedication to presenting local acts almost every night of the week made First Avenue a launch pad for local Minneapolis bands like Atmosphere, Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Semisonic, and Soul Asylum. Additionally, First Avenue has been a stepping stone for artists such as Joe Cocker, U2, Eminem, Tina Turner, Black Flag, The Ramones, Depeche Mode, Bo Diddley, Lucinda Williams, Metallica and, of course, Prince—Prince made the club his regular venue, his testing ground for new material, and the setting of his movie ‘Purple Rain.’

On top of offering stellar entertainment, First Avenue has worked with Minneapolis schools to offer workshops for students interested in the music industry. With help from artists, it has also been able to host countless benefit shows for local and national non-profit groups, including Pastor Paul’s Food Shelf, The Red Cross, the Twin Cities Music Community Trust, and many more.


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