The former home to the Spaghetti Warehouse was transformed by R5 Productions into the city’s first mid-size concert venue, Union Transfer. The inaugural concert was performed Sept. 21, and concerts are booked through December. The venue hosts a variety of genres.
After years of holding shows at various venues around Philadelphia, the show promotion agency R5 Productions, which operates on a “do it yourself” mentality, finally opened a venue of its own this month.
The venue located at 10th and Spring Garden streets had its first show Sept. 21 with headliner Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
The venue was once a Spaghetti Warehouse, but R5 bought and renovated it into a new home for shows with the goal of creating a larger space for live-music shows in Philadelphia to be held.
Union Transfer can accommodate 600 people and as many as 1,000 with the stage pushed back.
“We have been doing shows in church basements and other weird, small spaces for the last 15 years,” said Sean Agnew, a co-founders of Union Transfer and owner of R5.
“I always wanted to own our own venue but under the right circumstances–the room, location sound, etc.,” Agnew added. “Once it became clear that R5 could team up with Bowery Presents from New York City and Four Corners Management from Philly and this location became available, it was a no-brainer.”
Once the location was secured, renovations began to turn the location into the space Agnew imagined.
“We had to basically tear down everything in the inside of the building and start from scratch,” Agnew said. “It was a tough project. There were construction issues here and there, but nothing major. It’s been surprisingly smooth.”
Though the space did achieve their goal in having a nicely sized venue, Agnew said the purpose of it is what matters most.
“The idea is to provide Philadelphia with a next level, mid-sized venue that’s all ages and that allows 21-and-up folks to be able to drink,” Agnew said. “It’s almost a year since we started planning this out so the main goal of opening for the fall was met.”
Union Transfer caters to various bands as opposed to one specific genre.
“We are booking primarily national bands that can draw at least 300 people a night,” Agnew said. “We are booking all sorts of stuff: Hip-Hop, indie rock, country, singer/songwriters, electronic–it’s a pretty big and varied show calendar.”
Some attendees at the Shellac and Helen Money show on Sept. 29 gave the new venue positive reviews.
“I thought it was very nice and it definitely brought a new experience to the area,” said Sean Gavaghan, an automotive training center student and Shellac fan. “It definitely has a lot more space than other venues.”
Another Shellac fan, Madeline Hart, shared Gavaghan’s enthusiasm about Union Transfer.
“The atmosphere was really nice and it was a great size for the amount of people,” Hart said. “It’s a lot more open than the First Unitarian Church, but I like both equally.”
Sasha McFadden, a Philadelphia native who was at the Shellac show, said she was also excited about the new venue.
“It was very nice,” McFadden said. “A lot of room to get my groove on. I definitely like it more than Johnny Brenda’s.”
Union Transfer is located at 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets for shows are sold online and at its box office, which is open Friday and Saturday from noon-6 p.m. and on the evenings of shows from 5 p.m. to close. Additional inquiries can be directed to 215-232-2100.
Alexsia Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.