In 2006, following the receipt of $5 million in federal, state and city grants as well as private donations, restoration work began on the exterior of the historic Elitch Theatre, which turned 125 last year. Five year later, work started on the interior; that was completed in 2014. And although the theater opened that summer for its first public events in fourteen years, it hasn't hosted a major concert since 1996.
Face Vocal Band, Hazel Miller Band and Chris Daniels & the Kings will be part of the first big show at the theater in two decades: The Elitch Theatre Festival, or ET Fest, will go from 6 to 10 p.m. this Saturday, August 26; tickets are $35.
From noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a free family event at the theater, with art, music, food trucks, a beer garden and a kids' zone, along with live music from Jeff Young (12 to 1 p.m.), Gio Bard Zero (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.), Christian Olson (3 to 4 p.m.) and MSquared (4 to 6:30 p.m.).
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Proceeds from the concert's ticket sales will be used for preservation, restoration and a new educational program at the theater. Tracy Frickey, president of marketing for the Historic Elitch Theatre Foundation, says the theater is going into phase three of restoration: installing bathrooms.
"Currently, we're working on the plans to determine exactly what the entire scope for total restoration would be," Frickey says. "We are an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, so it has been very difficult to tackle the whole project. Until we get a big donor or grant, we just keep plugging away at phases. Phase four will be HVAC. The preservation piece is maintenance of the exterior that has already been restored. We are putting on a new roof in October and will be painting the exterior in the spring."
Frickey also says that for the first time, the venue has dedicated music, drama and voice instructors who are putting together programming for the theater.
For more information and tickets, visit ET Fest's website.