In a year full of ups and downs for Sacramento music venues, one iconic local club is about to get some proud new owners. Submerge has received word that Eric Rushing and Bret Bair (of the popular downtown venues Ace of Spades and Goldfield) are set to take over The Boardwalk, a legendary all-ages music club on Greenback Lane in Orangevale that has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry as well as countless locals since it opened in 1987. Local scene aficionados will know that Rushing has a long history with The Boardwalk. He steadily promoted shows there for 10 years (from 2001 to 2011) before opening Ace of Spades and later Assembly, which recently closed. Rushing granted us a rare interview to talk about his natural progression to taking over The Boardwalk, the future of the venue and what sort of local bands he’s looking for. Check out their new website for show listings and more information: Theboardwalkpresents.com
We’ve known ever since you guys decided to vacate Assembly that you’d be looking for another smaller size venue to complement the larger Ace of Spades. So our first question is simple: Why the Boardwalk?
It was a no-brainer for me because of my history there; however, we were really hoping to do something downtown to complement Ace and fill the void of Assembly going away. Even though The Boardwalk is located 20 to 30 minutes outside of the downtown area I still feel it’s in a great suburban area surrounded by a ton of high schools and endless potential. I’m actually really excited to do this again and already have some great shows in place for 2015.
Do you think it will be a challenge to sort of bring back the “glory days” when The Boardwalk was like the place for live music? Lately at least, it seems like a lot of Sacramento’s entertainment options have been focused on the grid. What does it take to get people to shows all the way out at The Boardwalk?
Definitely have our work cut out for us but we have a ton of great ideas to really put this place back on the map. There are a lot more people living in the grid these days, but a majority of the people are still coming from the ‘burbs anyway, so I’m not so worried about people not driving from downtown. We will make sure to put some shows in there that will get them out of the grid!
Same deal as usual as far as the live music program goes? A mix of national acts and local acts, right?
Correct. Same format I have used for years and same format we use at Ace.
At one point when we were last talking, you mentioned if this deal went through, you’d be possibly doing some renovations to the place. What sort of changes will people be able to notice at The Boardwalk right away, as well as in the distant future?
I can’t give away our secrets just yet, but it’s going to have a really cool vibe!
What will it take for local bands reading this to get a gig at The Boardwalk? What are you looking for in performers as far as sound, promotion, etc.?
Talented bands that actually get a crowd out to see them. It’s pretty simple, you just need to do the work and create a following. We are already booking shows for next year. Email us at Boardwalkpresents@gmail.com.
There has been a lot of commotion lately in the local scene with all of the venue closures. In your opinion, what does the state of Sacramento’s music scene look like to you right now?
There definitely needs to be more attention on the local music scene and the venues local bands can play. We’ll be giving a lot of them their shot here at The Boardwalk. Sacramento has always had a great scene. It just needs to be rebuilt, which we will be working on!