Ten years ago, The Basement — nestled in the concrete streets of the Arena District, across from the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion — opened its doors for the first time.
“I still know the date — it was February 5, 2005,” said Britton Dove, The Basement’s general manager. “They had a free show with a local band called Watershed, who were great, by the way.”
In a space Dove said he believes used to be a storage room for the state penitentiary, worn leather couches line the walls and the occasional graffiti is accompanied by tape masking holes where concert-goers have left their marks in the past decade.
Marissa Luther, the marketing director of PromoWest Live, which owns the venue, said The Basement has provided a space for many young artists to get their start. The Basement’s website said the venue “provides a stepping-stone for bands on the rise looking to graduate to the levels of the Newport and then to The LC Pavilion.” The venue has seen also seen artists like Walk the Moon and Imagine Dragons.
To celebrate 10 years of new beginnings, The Basement is hosting 10 artists in an anniversary concert series throughout 2015. The first concert in the series will be on March 24 with the band LIEUTENANT, which features Nate Mendel of Foo Fighters
Since its opening , Dove said some couches have been updated, the stage has been expanded and an actual green room for artists has been created in place of the original curtain divider. Luther said the original striped walls have been painted black.
Both Dove and Luther said they hope to see more growth and recognition of The Basement in the future.
“We would like elevate it to a level where it is on some of the Columbus ‘best of’ lists because of the history and the different acts that we’ve had there in the past and that we continue to get there on a national level,” Luther said.
Dove said he stumbled across an interview with the Virginmarys, a band from the United Kingdom, where the band members said The Basement was one of their favorite places in the world to play. “And they’ve played everywhere,” Dove said. “I’d like The Basement to become that kind of place for every band that comes through.”
Despite the changes of the past 10 years, Dove said The Basement remains an intimate venue where it is possible to get up close with developing artists.
“In a place like the Newport, the LC, the artists can kind of hide from the fans if they so choose,” Dove said. “The Basement is raw and emotional. You’re right there in it.”