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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

AGORA/AGORA BALLROOM

AGORA/AGORA BALLROOM

The AGORA/AGORA BALLROOM has been an innovative dance club and concert hall since the 1960s. Its support of local bands, new music styles, and upcoming national recording acts helped create a strong local club scene. The Agora was opened at 2175 Cornell Rd. by Henry J. LoConti and partners as a college dance club. Featuring the local band, Selective Service, it opened on 6 July 1967 as a membership-only dance club featuring 3.2 draft beer. The club moved to 1730 E. 24th, close to FENN COLLEGE (see CLEVELAND STATE UNIV.) in 1968. It was packed Wednesday through Sunday, featuring local bands playing current dance hits. In 1971 the Agora began promoting a few concerts featuring national recording acts such as the Velvet Underground, the Flaming Groovies, the Bob Seeger System, the Amboy Dukes, Jim Croce, Batdorf, and Rodney, and local bands with record albums such as the Glass Harp and Tiny Alice. That year, in the upstairs studio, Agency Recording, with progressive FM station, WNCR, began broadcasting live studio concerts on Sunday nights.

By 1974 Monday and Tuesday nights were established as regular concert nights. Sponsored by WMMS-FM, the concerts were recorded and broadcast at 10 P.M. on Wednesday nights. Throughout the 1970s the Agora presented first-time touring acts such as Bruce Springsteen (1974), Bad Company, Kiss, Peter Frampton, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Outlaws, the Michael Stanley Band, Southside Johnny, Aerosmith, and Eddie Money. The Agora's popularity began dwindling in 1977 with the advent of disco and the tightening of WMMS's format. The Agora closed its doors after a small fire in Oct. 1984. Three years later, the Agora reopened at the WHK Auditorium and Metropolitan Theatre, located at 5000 Euclid Ave. Since that time, the Agora continues to present new musical trends, young and up-coming touring acts, and local bands.