To commemorate the Grand Rapids nightclub’s half-century milestone, Local Spins Rewind today updates a 2017 Venue Spotlight on a hot spot that showcases ‘every genre of music.’ Video tours & photo galleries.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIES AND VIDEO TOURS
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Address: 133 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids
Box Office Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday (on Cherry Street)
Contact: (616) 723-8571
Booking inquiries: email@example.com (for artist advances: firstname.lastname@example.org, marketing director: email@example.com)
Walking into The Intersection before a concert feels like boarding a vessel where all hands are on deck. The main showroom is nearly empty, but those in the room are hard at work loading in heavy gear, prepping the bar, testing stage lights and checking sound. There’s a rhythm to all the preparation.
“I get to build a concert for a different audience and for different people’s happiness and enjoyment every day,” says Jeff Napolitano, a merchandise coordinator (at the time this story first appeared in 2017).
“There is just so much going on all the time, it keeps us busy and keeps Grand Rapids happy.”
As the godfather of Grand Rapids’ music venues, The Intersection has had a lot going on for a very long time, hosting national and local acts covering a diverse range of genres for an amazing 50 years — starting way back in August 1972 at its original location in Eastown.
The club moved to its Grandville Avenue SW location in 2003 and underwent a massive renovation 15 years later, creating four separate spaces for live music and gatherings: the 12,000-square-foot main showroom, 5,000-square-foot Stache (or front lounge), the 12,000-square-foot Elevation below and 5,000-square-foot Mint, which serves primarily as a VIP pre- and post-show room.
Although the COVID shutdown resulted in a long hiatus from shows, the venue is back in full force attracting huge audiences and is arguably one of Grand Rapids’ most successful music halls: It regularly ranks among the world’s top music venues for its size by Pollstar. (In 2019, it ranked No. 30, ahead of places such as Vic Theatre in Chicago and literally every City Winery in several major U.S. cities.)
“There are EDM shows, hip-hop shows, country shows, metal shows, pop-rock shows. You can see every genre of music here. We do a little bit of everything,” says Scott Hammontree, talent buyer, partner and general manager of The Intersection. “The crowd kind of sets the tone of the room, and we never want to lose that appeal.”
The cavernous main showroom has routinely booked more than 200 shows a year. The large stage is flanked by a 22-by-8-foot LED wall and a canopy of high-end stage lights. With a main bar at the back of the room and two smaller bars on either side, the showroom also boasts elevated seating along the walls and high tables in the back, with plenty of standing room in front of the stage for enthusiastic fans and dancers.
With an entrance off Cherry Street SE, the multi-tiered Elevation and swanky Mint next door — both outfitted with slick bars — represent a dramatic transformation from the rough and rustic basement that had long been under-utilized by The Intersection.
And outdoors, The Intersection hosts occasional “Rock the Lot” concerts in its adjoining parking lot during the summer.
“Grand Rapids has been amazing,” Hammontree said. “If the town keeps growing like it is, we’ll be right there growing with it.”
The Intersection books a staggering array of genres. Notable alumni include Snoop Dogg, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Fall Out Boy, G-Eazy, Bassnectar, Griz, Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, Slash, Umphrey’s McGee, Sturgill Simpson and many more.
“Everybody comes through and says it’s the best night of the tour,” sound engineer and production manager Ian Kettle says. “Load-in is easy, the sound rig is awesome, the monitor rig is awesome, the lights are great. It’s pretty fantastic.”
The Intersection is invested in the local music scene, showcasing regional acts every week. The venue also is home to community radio station WYCE-FM’s annual awards show, The Jammies, boasting an all-star Michigan roster of acts performing throughout the nightclub.
VIDEO TOUR: BEFORE THE 2018 RENOVATION
Elevation and Mint Under Construction (February 2018)
VIDEO TOUR: AFTER THE 2018 RENOVATION
Elevation and Mint Opening Week (March 2018)
View a roster of upcoming Intersection shows online here: https://sectionlive.com/
PHOTO GALLERY: THE INTERSECTION
PHOTO GALLERY: Elevation & The Mint (2018)
Photos by Kendra Kamp
Photos by Eric Stoike