Bob Dylan spent the late ’60s trying to keep a low profile in Woodstock. Forty years later he used Poughkeepsie’s historic Bardavon Opera House as a secret rehearsal space. Now, the music legend and newly minted Nobel laureate is putting his talent on public display in the Hudson Valley with a groundbreaking concert at a new music venue on the Kingston waterfront.
The June 24 show at the old Hutton Brickyard on North Street will mark the debut of the site as a music venue managed by the Bardavon 1869 Opera House. The company, which also owns Kingston’s Ulster Performing Arts Center, will act as promoter and organizer for the event.
The former brickyard was acquired by California-based developer MWest Holdings which has reinvented the site as an event space. Last summer thousands flocked to the weekend food and crafts festival Smorgasburg. The success of Smorgasburg, Bardavon Executive Director Chris Silva said, inspired him to begin exploring the venues potential for live music. After getting approval from MWest, Silva said, he began seeking a big act for the venue’s debut. With a 3,500 seat capacity, the open-air but roofed brickyard venue dwarfs the 1,500-seat UPAC and 944-seat Bardavon and can accommodate a larger crowd than Poughkeepsie’s 3,000-seat Mid-Hudson Civic Center.
“It’s opening doors for us,” said Silva. “We’re having conversations about acts that we were not having before because we were just not big enough.”
Silva’s relationship with Dylan and his management team dates back to 2005 when the music legend used the Bardavon as a practice space while recording his Modern Times album. Dylan returned in 2006 and 2011 to rehearse his band in preparation for touring. In each instance, Silva said, Bardavon staff kept the notoriously private singer-songwriter’s presence a well-guarded secret building trust that paid off when Dylan agreed to add the brickyard to an already packed summer tour schedule. Silva said he also appealed to the history buff in Dylan by sending then and now pictures of brickyard which was a mainstay of the Kingston waterfront dating back to the 19th century.
“Bob likes to play new venues, he likes history and God knows he has roots in the Hudson Valley,” said Silva. “It just all came together perfectly for us.”
Representatives of MWest Holdings said that they hoped the concert would be a highlight of the second season at the venue. In addition to Dylan’s concert, the summer will see the return of Smorgasburg which will kick off on May 20 and 21 and run one weekend a month at the site through October. MWest President Karl Slovin stated in a press release that the 2017 season at the brickyard was “rapidly evolving” with the company forging relationships with top tier caterers, wedding planners and event coordinators.
“With the brickyards we are custodians of the, and stewards of the future,” Slovin stated. “And the future at the Hutton Brickyards is going to be a lot of fun — and quite special.”
On Wednesday, the Daily Freeman reported that MWest has yet to be granted a permit to hold concerts at the site. The story stated the matter will be taken up by the city planning board at its April or May meeting.
Tickets to the June 24 concert are on sale to Bardavon members on March 23-24 before going on sale to the general public on March 25 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $125 and $75 for seated general admission and $55 for standing room. Tickets can be purchased in person at UPAC at 601 Broadway in Kingston, the Bardavon at 25 Market St. in Poughkeepsie or online through Ticketmaster.