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Warfield Opening Heats Up SF Market

SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — This weekend will mark the reopening of San Francisco's famed Warfield Theatre under the banner of its new operator, AEG's Goldenvoice. Up until last Spring, the 2,300 capacity venue was managed by Live Nation but the venue was acquired by AEG in 2004 as part of Phillip Anschutz acquisition of the San Francisco Examiner.

Live Nation has been a major player in the market since it acquired (as Clear Channel) Bill Graham's empire from SFX with holdings that included the Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain Winery, The Warfield and what has since become Live Nation's signature brand, The Fillmore.

Despite their strong hold in the region, Live Nation is facing increasing competition in the San Fran. Goldenvoice has been active in the market for some time, booking the Grand Ballroom at Regency, a competitor for Live Nation's Fillmore but the opening of the Warfield will expand on AEG's beach head and provide increasing avenues for competition for touring artists.

"The Fillmore is the prestigious place to play at that level," David Lefkowitz, who runs Goldenvoice's SF operation told Mercury News "It's also got the history from the '60s attached to it, which is really appealing to a lot of artists old and young, foreign and domestic. The Warfield, maybe to slightly less of a degree, is that prestigious venue at that level. So it's really like the foot in the door."

While the titans grapple, other promoters are carving out a niche for themselves as well. Former Bill Graham Presents prexy Gregg Perloff and his shop Another Planet Productions have been making inroads as well, with the hugely successful Outside Lands Festival held in Golden Gate Park for the first time this year. However, Perloff's not content with just festivals and according to Mercury News he will soon be producing shows at the newly rehabbed Fox Theatre. Perloff also stated that plans are underway for a collaboration between Goldenvoice and APE to renovate and operate the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Despite these advances by competitors, Live Nation is still the biggest fish in this particular pond and the events they are promoting in the market over the next few months number in the hundreds.

"We're well on our way to developing an alternative to the Warfield," Live Nation spokesman Aaron Siuda told Mercury News "We'll be back." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers