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Local musician sees Deer District music venues as national draw

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 19:22:29-04

MILWAUKEE — If you are a fan of live music, the new venues planned for Deer District are good news.

New venues mean more shows and more options, but they won't necessarily mean more opportunities for local musicians.

Milwaukee artist Chris Porterfield is happy to see the local music scene grow, but says the new venues were likely not planned with smaller artists in mind.

"As far as impacting local artists, it will be more shows to go to and more concession jobs to have. That's kind of about it," he said.

Porterfield has taken his band "Field Report" from Milwaukee basements and living rooms to national tours.

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He says the new Deer District venues will fill holes in the city's music scene by drawing in more big names that would otherwise skip Milwaukee.

"They'll go to Madison or Chicago and not play Milwaukee, which is heartbreaking," he said. "It's a bummer, because we deserve those shows and now we'll probably be able to land them."

Porterfield has no illusion these new venues are designed for the little, local artists.

While they may find work in the Deer District as opening acts, he says their purpose is selling tickets to bigger, national tours.

"We are not the ones in mind," he said.

The two new concert venues are set to open in the Deer District late next year with a total capacity of about 4,800 people, the Milwaukee Bucks and music promoter FPC Live announced Monday.

Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, with the spaces set to be located on the northeast part of the old Bradley Center site.

Organizers said in a statement the two venues will provide "a wide variety of first-class experiences and amenities for eventgoers and artists." FPC Live - part of Frank Productions - expects the venues to host 135 events and bring 200,000 fans downtown every year.

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