Knitting Factory

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This article is about the music venues. For the record label, see Knitting Factory Records.
Knitting Factory venue

The Knitting Factory is a music venue and concert house with locations in Brooklyn, Boise, and Spokane. The club originally specialized in jazz and experimental music and has expanded to showcasing all genres of music, performing arts and comedy.


The Knitting Factory was opened as a nightclub in 1987 by Michael Dorf and Louis Spitzer, although Bob Appel replaced Spitzer later in 1987.[1] The original location was in Manhattan on Houston Street, almost equidistant between CBGB and The Bottom Line. Initially, the venue was meant to be an art gallery with a performance space and cafe, as well as a home for experimental music.[2] The club quickly emerged as a home for the sounds that did not neatly fit into the categories of jazz or rock. Artists including Sonic Youth, Sound of Urchin, Cassandra Wilson, Gil Scott Heron, Yo La Tengo, Carl Hancock Rux, Cecil Taylor, Cluster, Tim Berne, John Zorn, The Lounge Lizards, Bobby Previte, and Bill Frisell played there. The musicians who would end up forming the band Soul Coughing first met at the Knitting Factory, where Mike Doughty, who would become the lead singer, worked as a doorman. Soul Coughing played many of their early shows there.

Since 1990, the Knitting Factory has even sponsored its own major jazz festival, the What is Jazz? Festival, which is a two-week long event spanning several locations in New York City. The event then became so successful that it changed its name to the New York Jazz Festival.[1][3]

As demand grew for recordings of the live performances Dorf and Appel began to tape performances and distribute them to radio stations.[4] The club’s syndicated radio program, “Captured Live at the Knitting Factory on TDK”, began in 1990 and was broadcast on around 225 stations across the nation at the peak of its popularity.[1][3] Appel left the business in 1991 to work independently in production. Dorf moved the club to Tribeca in 1994, and continued to build the recording and festival businesses. It was the first club to start webcasting concerts nightly over the internet.[3] The management then founded their own record label, Knitting Factory Works, in 1990, which by 2000 had created more than 240 albums. In 2000, it also formed the label Knit Classics to reissue several artists’ recordings.[1] Dorf opened a new club location in Los Angeles in 2000 under the parent company of Knitting Factory Entertainment, KnitMedia.[1]

Jared Hoffman, the founder of Instinct Records, which was acquired by Knitting Factory Entertainment in 2002, took over as CEO of the company from Dorf in 2004. In 2006 he oversaw the acquisition of concert promoter Bravo Entertainment and, in 2008, re-branded two of Bravo's clubs (one in Boise, Idaho, and another in Spokane, Washington) as Knitting Factory Concert Houses. Knitting Factory Presents then promoted a number of mainstream tours throughout the US.

In 2007 The Knitting Factory partnered with XM Satellite Radio to record and broadcast concerts from both Knitting Factory locations.

Morgan Margolis took over as CEO in 2008. Hoffman left the company at the end of 2008.

In July 2008 the owners announced their move to close the Manhattan location and move to a much smaller space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At this new venue alternative comedy thrived, with many notable comedians gracing the stage including Hannibal Buress, Seth Herzog, Che Bridgett, Dan Ilic, and Pete Davidson.[5] But they changed their minds and reopened the Tribeca location, and continued putting on shows with bands including The Shells, the Cro-Mags, and New Model Army.[6][7][8] At that time, the New York and Hollywood locations held over 5,000 live performances each year.[9]

In July 2009 it was reported that the Los Angeles location was closing.[10]

The last show in the Manhattan location however was on July 25, 2009, and was an event called Staff Infection in which staff took to the stage and said goodbye to its beloved club. The last band to play KFNY was 12,000 Trees featuring 3 Knit staffers. The new location was set to reopen in the new Brooklyn location in July 2009.[11][12]

On September 9, 2009, The Knitting Factory relocated to the former space of the Luna Lounge — itself a Manhattan transplant — at 361 Metropolitan Avenue. This location, completely remodeled, is now in operation and has a capacity of about 300. The venue opened with a performance by Les Savy Fav.[13][14]

On New Year's Eve 2009 The Knitting Factory opened its newest location in Reno, Nevada. The new location is located in the heart of downtown near the Reno Arch. The Reno venue has a capacity of 1265 and averages 18 to 25 concerts a month. Some of the artists that have played the venue are Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, Rob Zombie, Skrillex, Modest Mouse, Alice in Chains, Cormega and Zedd. The Reno venue has been ranked by Pollstar as the 13th highest tickets sales for clubs in the U.S.[citation needed]

In March 2016, the Knitting Factory announced it would be closing its Reno location. [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kennedy, Gary W. “Knitting Factory.” The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed. Ed. Barry Kernfeld. Oxford Music Online.
  2. ^ "Brooklyn: History". Knitting Factory. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Bambarger, Bradley. “At 10, The Knitting Factory is a Powerhouse of New Music.” Billboard 109.5 (1 Feb. 1997): 1, 74-75.
  4. ^ "Brooklyn: History". Knitting Factory. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ "New York's Knitting Factory moving to Brooklyn". NME. July 11, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Knitting Factory is reopening.... in Tribeca (temporarily)". Brooklyn Vegan. February 17, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Shapiro, Julie (January 2, 2009). "The Knit cutting out of Tribeca this week". Downtown Express. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ Amorim, Kevin (March 20, 2008). "Cool@Night". 
  9. ^ No author. “Knitting Factory Entertainment Launches Groundbreaking New Digital Content Services Initiative…” PR Newswire (10 May 2007).
  10. ^ Roberts, Randall (July 20, 2009). "Knitting Factory Hollywood Closing Its Doors". LA Weekly. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ Sisario, Ben (January 1, 2009). "At Knitting Factory, a Final Manhattan Show". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "Satellite Lounge opening, Knitting Factory Brooklyn still not". Brooklyn Vegan. May 7, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Quinn Marston Band". July 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-16. from 02:00 pm ... 
  14. ^ "Independence Fest". theKnit (Knitting Factory website). July 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-04. Quinn Marston Band - (Set time: 5:00 PM) 
  15. ^ "Factory closes - Feature Story - Local Stories - March 24, 2016". Reno News & Review. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′51″N 73°57′21″W / 40.71417°N 73.95583°W / 40.71417; -73.95583