Toyota Music Factory crescendos into debut

The newly renamed Toyota Music Factory debuted to the public on Saturday, Sep.9 with a performance by the rock band ZZ Top.

“This has been a long time coming; we’re thrilled it’s here,” said Danny Easton, COO of Live Nation North America Concerts. “From our standpoint and Live Nation’s standpoint, it gives us so much more flexibility as promoters and bookers in the market because of the different configurations and the way we set up the building. We’re excited about the volume of acts we are getting involved with in the next 30 years.”

Development on the venue began over a decade ago, and ARK, the site’s developers, came on roughly five years ago. Easton says Irving was chosen because the city really wanted the project and was in a central location.

“To have a partnership with a city that is really desirous of a facility like this, that’s a big plus to start with,” Easton said. “If you look at Dallas-Fort Worth on a map and you put your finger in the center of it, it’d be pretty much Irving. We feel like we’re really giving people a shot to come from all over the Metroplex. It’s really not that far of a drive from Fort Worth, from Frisco and all of those places.”

The venue, which opened a week later than expected due to construction delays, has been in full-court press over the last month to meet an early September deadline.

“We had one of the wetter spring and summers on record and so we had a bunch of little weather related delays,” Easton said. “It just cumulatively balled together to put us behind. Rick (Lazes) and Noah (Lazes) of the ARK group have been working the construction crews as hard as they possibly could. It’s been pretty much a sprint to the finish.”

A day before its debut, the $200 million Irving Music Factory gained Toyota as a title sponsor. The car company recently moved its headquarters to Plano. That means the Pavilion at Irving Music Factory will now be called the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory.

One of the amenities of the new space is the artists’ lounge that Easton hopes will attract prime time performances.

“I’ve been backstage to a lot of places in the country and I would put the backstage amenities here up against anywhere that I’ve been, which were key for us,” he said.

The 2,000 seat indoor venue hosts a $40 million convertible concert venue that has the ability to open up to an outdoor seating area and accommodate up to 8,000 fans. The pavilion also has the ability to convert into a smaller, more intimate venue.

“It’s the first time in the world anyone’s built a building that can have an indoor facility and also turn it into an amphitheater in a few minutes,” said Rick Lazes, co-founder and CEO of ARK. “That gives us a lot of flexibility no one’s ever done before.”

The opening marks a new wave of entertainment destinations for the Irving area with the Westin Irving Convention Center Hotel opening later in the year.

The site will continue rolling out more than 25 restaurants, entertainment venues, the Alamo Drafthouse, and office space through the remainder of the year. According to Lazes, a new site will open roughly every two weeks for the remainder of the year. The last piece will be the Sambuca restaurant opening at the end of the year before a final New Year’s celebration.

About the Author

Joe Snell
Joe Snell studied film and business law at the University of Southern California. He has worked for a number of film and television companies including 21st Century Fox, Starz Entertainment, Creative Artists Agency, and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.