Arts & Culture

New Music Venue Opens Doors To Public For Grand Opening

The White Oak Music Hall opened its outdoor space in April and is revealing its slick new interior space this weekend. But not everyone in the Near Northside neighborhood is thrilled.

Just hours before Thursday night’s grand opening, it was hard to imagine the White Oak Music Hall’s building would be ready to go in time. By 11 AM, dozens of workers were still installing stage lights, power washing the sidewalk, and briskly wheeling cases of beer into the pristine white building on N. Main St. If you head there this weekend and notice a faint, sweet cedar smell, it’s not your imagination. “What we’ve done here is wrapped every single wall in cedar planks,” explains the venue’s co-operator Johnny So. “Not only does that provide a nice, warm visual aesthetic, it also provides a lot of acoustic benefits.”

The large space in front of the main stage can fit as many as 1,000 people. There’s also a smaller, more intimate space upstairs with a lounge-like vibe, ideal for jazz or acoustic shows.

But there are mixed feelings about the new venue. When the hall opened its outdoor space in April, nearby residents complained about the noise. “We have three children who are disturbed by the bass and decibel level each time they have a show,” says Beth Lousteau, who lives about five blocks from the venue. She’s filed formal complaints with the city.

Residents also say the overflow of traffic congests the area’s narrow streets. The hall’s Johnny So says they offer about 620 parking lot spaces. If the outdoor lawn can hold 3,500 people, however, and another 1,200 guests can fit inside, finding a spot could be tough on nights when three concerts are being held at once. There are hopes that more concert goers will use Uber or opt to take the Metro light rail, which has a station about 1/4 mile away. 

The venue’s co-owner Jagi Katial says they’re working with the community and listening to concerns, adding that they’ve increased the police presence in the neighborhood during concerts and send crews out to clean the streets afterwards. “It’s our responsibility to be the best neighbors we can in that setup,” he says. “That’s our obligation.”

The four-day grand opening of the White Oak Music Hall’s interior space runs through Sunday.

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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