|Genre(s) Experimental music, rock music, pop music, etc.|
Opened 1987 by Michael Dorf and Louis Spitzer
The Knitting Factory is a nightclub that was opened in New York City and that featured eclectic music and entertainment. After opening in 1987, various other locations were opened in the United States.
- Founding in New York 1987
- New clubs outside New York 2000 2007
- Ownership changes and move 2008
- Reno and closures 2009 present
- Knitting Factory Works
The Knitting Factory gave its audience poetry readings, performance art, standup comedy, and musicians who transcended the usual boundaries of rock and jazz, often experimental music. The Knitting Factory owners distributed some performances to radio stations, and around 1990 starting a radio show and the record label Knitting Factory Works. Later the founders started Knitting Factory Records in 1998.
Founding in New York (1987)
It was founded by Michael Dorf and Louis Spitzer in 1987.
The original location was in Manhattan on Houston Street, almost equidistant between CBGB and The Bottom Line. The venue was meant to be an art gallery with a performance space and cafe, as well as a home for experimental music.
Since 1990, the Knitting Factory has sponsored the What is Jazz? Festival, a two-week long event in several locations in New York City. The event became so successful that its name was changed to the New York Jazz Festival. Knitting Factory Records was later founded in 1998.
New clubs outside New York (2000-2007)
Dorf opened a new club location in Los Angeles in 2000 under the parent company of Knitting Factory Entertainment, KnitMedia. Jared Hoffman, the founder of Instinct Records, which was acquired by Knitting Factory Entertainment in 2002, took over as CEO of the company from Dorf in 2004. In 2006 he oversaw the acquisition of concert promoter Bravo Entertainment and, in 2008, re-branded two of Bravo's clubs (one in Boise, Idaho, and another in Spokane, Washington) as Knitting Factory Concert Houses. Knitting Factory Presents then promoted a number of mainstream tours throughout the US.
In 2007 The Knitting Factory partnered with XM Satellite Radio to record and broadcast concerts from both Knitting Factory locations.
Ownership changes and move (2008)
Morgan Margolis took over as CEO in 2008. Hoffman left the company at the end of 2008.
In July 2008 the owners announced their move to close the Manhattan location and move to a much smaller space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At this new venue alternative comedy thrived, with many notable comedians gracing the stage including Hannibal Buress, Seth Herzog, Che Bridgett, Dan Ilic, and Pete Davidson. But they changed their minds and reopened the Tribeca location, and continued putting on shows with bands including The Shells, the Cro-Mags, and New Model Army. At that time, the New York and Hollywood locations held over 5,000 live performances each year.
Reno and closures (2009-present)
In July 2009 it was reported that the Los Angeles location was closing.
The last show in the Manhattan location however was on July 25, 2009, and was an event called Staff Infection in which staff took to the stage and said goodbye to its beloved club. The last band to play KFNY was 12,000 Trees featuring 3 Knit staffers. The new location was set to reopen in the new Brooklyn location in July 2009.
On September 9, 2009, The Knitting Factory relocated to the former space of the Luna Lounge — itself a Manhattan transplant — at 361 Metropolitan Avenue. This location, completely remodeled, is now in operation and has a capacity of about 300. The venue opened with a performance by Les Savy Fav.
On New Year's Eve 2009 The Knitting Factory opened its newest location in Reno, Nevada. The new location is located in the heart of downtown near the Reno Arch. The Reno venue has a capacity of 1265 and averages 18 to 25 concerts a month. Some of the artists that have played the venue are Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, Rob Zombie, Skrillex, Modest Mouse, Alice in Chains, Cormega and Zedd. The Reno venue has been ranked by Pollstar as the 13th highest tickets sales for clubs in the U.S.
In March 2016, the Knitting Factory announced it would be closing its Reno location.
Knitting Factory Works
The Knitting Factory gave its audience poetry readings, performance art, standup comedy, and musicians who transcended the usual boundaries of rock and jazz, such as the Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, Dewey Redman, Don Byron, Anthony Braxton, and Cecil Taylor. The owners recorded some of these performances and distributed them to radio stations. They started a radio show in 1990 that was broadcast nationwide, and sometime between 1989 and 1990 a record label called Knitting Factory Works. In ten years the label issued over 200 albums that included music by Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser, Bill Ware, Roy Nathanson, Charles Gayle, Joe Morris, and Curtis Fowlkes.