After surviving the hardest 18 months in music industry history, one buzzy Bayou City venue has a big reason to party. Five reasons, specifically.
White Oak Music Hall, the Near Northside independent live music venue, will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Saturday, August 21 with a free, fan appreciation bash featuring some of the city's best bands.
The lineup showcases the diversity of the venue's music programming with folk-rock act Ruckus, indie rock/pop band Camera Cult, singer-songwriter Marley Moon, hip-hop act iLL LiaD, and DJ Hiram, the latter playing a montage of artists that performed on White Oak stages.
Launched by local investors — including the minds behind Pegstar Concerts following a departure from booking shows at the now-shuttered Heights club, Fitzgerald's — White Oak Music Hall has since become one of the most popular music venues in Houston.
Opening in 2016 on five acres at the intersection of North Main and North streets (2915 N. Main St.), the live music spot hosted close to 1,700 concerts and 1,000,000 concertgoers over the next five years. Deft bookers have consistently lined up large international touring acts as well as nurturing local performers across a wide spectrum of music genres — whether on the expansive, 42,000 square-foot lawn and its breathtaking backdrop of downtown Houston, or on two indoor stages.
In a difficult industry, White Oak has overcome numerous challenges over the past half-decade. Those include a since-resolved legal challenge from neighbors over noise issues, the after-effects of Hurricane Harvey, a seemingly annual tradition of cancelled shows due to springtime torrential rains, and the global COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered doors for months on end and forced a temporary reduction in staff.
But the tenacity and dedication of White Oak staff only endeared the concert space to a city of music fans, evidenced by sold-out lawn shows in early-2021 that required grid-like, socially distanced seating in conjunction with COVID-19 protocols laid out by the City of Houston.
Thankfully, the venue is set to bounce back in a big way. Since May of this year, White Oak announced 145 shows on sale, including a venue record 57 in June alone, figures that stand in stark contrast to the less than 50 shows offered between March 2019 and March 2020.
“I think celebrating five years of shows after having been largely closed for the past 18 months is humbling and inspiring," White Oak Music Hall co-managing partner and Pegstar Concerts principal Jagi Katial tells CutlureMap. “When we had to shut down and go without, it drove home how much live music contributes to peoples’ overall sense of well-being. And we are excited to bring that back.”
The White Oak Music Hall fifth-anniversary event will include giveaways, merch and swag, $3 beers, and alcohol-infused cake pops. The show kicks off at 7 pm and will be free for those over 21 years-old; $5 for those under 21. An RSVP is required to attend.