Knitting Factory

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Knitting Factory
LocationNew York City, U.S.
Genre(s)Experimental music, rock music, pop music, etc.
Opened1987 by Michael Dorf and Louis Spitzer

The Knitting Factory is a nightclub in New York City that features eclectic music and entertainment. After opening in 1987, various other locations were opened in the United States.

The Knitting Factory gave its audience poetry readings, performance art, standup comedy, and musicians who transcended the usual boundaries of rock and jazz, often experimental music. The Knitting Factory owners distributed some performances to radio stations, and around 1990 starting a radio show and the record label Knitting Factory Works.[1] Later the founders started Knitting Factory Records in 1998.


Founding in New York (1987)[edit]

It was founded by Michael Dorf and Louis Spitzer in 1987. The Knitting Factory was named by Dorf's and Spitzer's childhood friend Bob Appel and songwriter Jonathan Zarov, who derived the name through joking about Appel's experience working in an actual knitting factory. Appel, a lifelong musician, joined as a co-owner and co-manager soon after its founding. John Zorn was heavily associated with the creative direction of the club in its earliest years.

The original location was in Manhattan at 47 East Houston Street, near to CBGB and within walking distance of The Bottom Line. The venue was founded as an art gallery, with a performance space and cafe, as well as a home for experimental music.[2]

Within a few years, the venue relocated to a new Manhattan location at 74 Leonard St, which featured a much larger main hall that generally showcased independent rock and pop music, and two smaller subterranean stages that were initially dedicated to avant garde music.

Since 1990, the Knitting Factory has sponsored the What is Jazz? Festival, a two-week long event in several locations in New York City. The event became so successful that its name was changed to the New York Jazz Festival.[3] Knitting Factory Records was later founded in 1998.

New clubs outside New York (2000–2007)[edit]

Concert at the Spokane venue

Dorf opened a new club location in Los Angeles in 2000 under the parent company of Knitting Factory Entertainment, KnitMedia. 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 promoters 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.

Ownership changes and move (2008)[edit]

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 361 Metropolitan Ave. 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.[4] 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 (band).[5][6][7] At that time, the New York and Hollywood locations held over 5,000 live performances each year.[8]

Reno and closures (2009–present)[edit]

In July 2009 it was reported that the Los Angeles location was closing.[9]

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.[10][11]

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, had a capacity of about 300. The venue opened with a performance by Les Savy Fav.[12][13]

In March 2016, the Knitting Factory announced it would be closing its Reno, Nevada location.[14]

In August 2022 the Williamsburg location closed due to dramatic rent increases on top of significant revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Stated plans at the time were to relocate the venue to the East Village in 2023.[15]

In late 2022, The Knitting Factory returned to Los Angeles opening a venue in the North Hollywood neighborhood.[16]

It was announced that the Knitting Factory New York would re-open July 20th in the old Pyramid Club location.[17]

Knitting Factory Works[edit]

Knitting Factory Works
Founded1989 or 1990
FounderKnitting Factory
Country of originUnited States

The Knitting Factory gave its audience poetry readings, performance art, standup comedy, and musicians who transcended the usual boundaries of rock and jazz, such as the Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, Dewey Redman, Don Byron, Anthony Braxton, and Cecil Taylor. The owners recorded some of these performances and distributed them to radio stations. They started a radio show in 1990 that was broadcast nationwide, and sometime between 1989 and 1990 a record label called Knitting Factory Works. In ten years the label issued over 200 albums that included music by Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser, Bill Ware, Roy Nathanson, Charles Gayle, Joe Morris, and Curtis Fowlkes.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, Gary (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 505. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  2. ^ "Brooklyn: History". Knitting Factory. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  3. ^ Bambarger, Bradley. "At 10, The Knitting Factory is a Powerhouse of New Music." Billboard 109.5 (1 Feb. 1997): 1, 74–75.
  4. ^ "New York's Knitting Factory moving to Brooklyn". NME. July 11, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  5. ^ "Knitting Factory is reopening.... in Tribeca (temporarily)". Brooklyn Vegan. February 17, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Shapiro, Julie (January 2, 2009). "The Knit cutting out of Tribeca this week". Downtown Express. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Amorim, Kevin (March 20, 2008). "Cool@Night".
  8. ^ No author. "Knitting Factory Entertainment Launches Groundbreaking New Digital Content Services Initiative…" PR Newswire (10 May 2007).
  9. ^ Roberts, Randall (July 20, 2009). "Knitting Factory Hollywood Closing Its Doors". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on February 14, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Sisario, Ben (January 1, 2009). "At Knitting Factory, a Final Manhattan Show". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Satellite Lounge opening, Knitting Factory Brooklyn still not". Brooklyn Vegan. May 7, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  12. ^ "Quinn Marston Band". July 3, 2011. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-16. from 02:00 pm ...
  13. ^ "Independence Fest". theKnit (Knitting Factory website). July 3, 2011. Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-04. Quinn Marston Band – (Set time: 5:00 PM)
  14. ^ Bynum, Brad (March 24, 2016). "Factory closes". Reno News & Review. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  15. ^ ""Knitting Factory closes shop in Brooklyn for Manhattan return". Gothamist. September 4, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Knittin Factory to open a new venue in North Hollywood". Celebrity Access. October 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "The Knitting Factory Returns to Manhattan in Former Pyramid Club Space". The Low Down. July 9, 2023.

Further reading[edit]