Around 2 p.m. on a Wednesday, two workers power wash the outside area of the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. They’re wiping away what remains from the previous weekend’s Rob Zombie show and preparing with a clean slate for the last weekend’s two-day Beerfest event.
After all, they have a reputation to uphold. They were recently ranked the 24th hottest small venue music club in the nation by Billboard Magazine.
It is strange to be at what’s better known as the LC in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, void of hundreds of music enthusiasts waiting for their favorite band to come to Columbus. One might completely miss the signs pointing out PromoWest Productions’ administrative offices above the venue, but that’s where the magic behind obtaining a national ranking takes place.
Inside the office, marketing director Marissa Luther talked about the LC, one of five PromoWest venues, with a smile on her face.
“When you get some recognition nationally, it’s nice to realize that your hard work is paying off,” Luther said.
The LC stands out for a number of reasons, Luther said. One is its duel status as one of the only indoor/outdoor venues in the United States, a title it shares with PromoWest’s Stage AE in Pittsburgh. Columbus resident Scott Stieneckerfounded and owns both venues, and it was his dream that brought the LC’s double stage to life 12 years ago.
“Scott had this vision one day of an indoor/outdoor facility,” Luther said. Stienecker had already been running the Newport Music Hall since 1984 and was “detrimental” to Germain Amphitheater’s business. The LC opened in October 2001.
“Scott has been in the business so long, and a lot (of our success) has to do with the relationships he has built. He has known these acts for years,” she said. “He is definitely the big piece of the puzzle.”
Luther said another reason for the LC’s success is its ability to stay local despite the trend toward a corporate America.
“We aren’t run by a corporation,” she said. “We are run by an individual here in Columbus. That has really helped us to poke through and be more visible.”
They also help local bands with a small following make it big, like Twenty One Pilots, the now-nationally acclaimed band from Columbus whose leader once worked at the LC.
Monday Lagunzad, a third-year in public affairs, recalls seeing the band at the LC twice.
“I saw them both inside and outside, and each time it was the best show I’d ever seen,” Lagunzad said. “They built their own set, had a huge LED light show and even played some songs in the crowd. It was super awesome that the LC let them do all that.” Luther says PromoWest enjoys watching bands start off at their smaller venues, A&R Music Bar and The Basement, and make their way to the big stages of the Newport and the LC.
“It’s nice for us to be there to see bands grow,” she said.
Brian Horten, a fourth-year in nursing, recalls seeing Lupe Fiasco outside in the rain.
“It was such a good time despite the rain, just because of all the good vibes there,” he said.
Some students who have attended a concert in the pavilion believed the LC should have ranked higher in Billboard’s list.
“It is ridiculous they weren’t in the top 10,” third year accounting major Aaron Ferlotti, who saw Childish Gambino at the LC, said.
The LC’s schedule isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Saturday, they are set to host the CD102.5 Summerfest at A&R, The Basement and both parts of the LC. It’s a day-long festival, with eight bands playing and 10,000 people expected to attend.
“It’s the biggest thing we’ve done so far,” Luther said of the festival.
Other big upcoming shows include Ke$ha, Queens of the Stone Age and Vampire Weekend.
Owner Stienecker said being ranked 24 on Billboard’s list makes him want to push higher.
“We take pride in the honor that has been awarded and are hoping for all three PromoWest venues (he owns) to make the list next year,” he said in an email.
“Now the goal is to be number one at some point,” she said. “You think of big music cities like Seattle, New York. You don’t necessarily think of Columbus, but we try to get it up there.”