Fillmore Silver Spring Grand Opening Hosts a Sold-Out Crowd

History was made Thursday night in Silver Spring with the opening of the Fillmore Music Hall in the historic, former JC Penney department store building. Starting with yesterday's full house grand opening featuring Mary J. Blige, Washington Metro area residents can expect a music line up that will suit all tastes.

“It’s a great good idea and great for Montgomery County,” said Brian Pharr, 30, a concert goer who made the trek from Southeast DC. He and his friends said they would keep coming back to the Fillmore if it kept bringing in more artists like Blige.

Hundreds of guests lined the block outside the brightly lit Fillmore and stayed on despite the rain and cold in the first taste of what felt like the fall. Renee Forde, a Silver Spring Resident, came out to see the show as a birthday present from a friend. “I like it,” the 26 year old said about the Fillmore. “Everything is happening in Silver Spring and this is another attraction.”

The 2000 capacity venue has been in the works for at least five years and created some controversy along the way. A deal was made with entertainment and concert hall operator Live Nation (NYSE:LYV) to manage the space which was funded by the County. Montgomery County officials are expecting the Fillmore to be a benefit to the revitalization efforts taking place in Silver Spring.

“This will attract more people in and around Silver Spring,” Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive said of the Fillmore project. He also anticipated that other projects, such as a new hotel, library, and transit center, would help expand the tax revenue. A much needed stream of money to help Montgomery County continue to make investments that serves its citizens, during this extensive economic downturn.

The Fillmore Silver Spring is one in a chain of music halls around the country with an expansive two level space each with its own bar. The main floor was standing room and gave the venue a club like feel. VIP guests were led to the top floor with limited seating.

After more than an hour of waiting, Mary J. Blige graced the stage and began her set with her hit-song “You Bring Me Joy”.

The Fillmore concert list is jam packed for the fall with artists from all genres, making it a venue with something for everyone in the Washington Metro area. Notable acts include Blondie, a rock band from the 80s; Deadmau5, a house DJ who wears a mouse mask; R&B crooner John Legend; and pop sensations Joe Jonas and Jay Sean.

Future events at the Fillmore will likely bring similar crowds as it did for last night’s opening. Residents can expect more vehicle and foot traffic as Silver Spring strives to be the next entertainment destination in the Metro area.

“We’re limited with venues in the District, and this is an alternative,” said Samuel Tatum, 34, who came from Northeast DC to see the concert and the new space.

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