Walker Theatre sees renewed use as music venue

Oklahoma-based band Turnpike Troubadours will be welcomed to the Walker Theatre Monday, Oct. 23.
Oklahoma-based band Turnpike Troubadours will be welcomed to the Walker Theatre Monday, Oct. 23.

Looking into the history of theaters in downtown Chattanooga, it is very sad to find that a few smaller ones were destroyed many years back in the process of downtown construction. However, it is refreshing to know that we are at least still utilizing the theater spaces that remain in the downtown Chattanooga landscape. A majority of the thanks in that regard can be directed toward the Tivoli Foundation, a nonprofit group formed in 2015 under a mission to increase the number of larger musical performances coming to our city, utilizing Memorial Auditorium and Tivoli Theatre as hosts.

So far, the Tivoli has gained the most use out of this effort, but a new move at Memorial Auditorium is setting the stage for even more theater performances in our city.

The Robert Kirk Walker Community Theatre sits inside Memorial Auditorium, separate from the main auditorium space. Though it has an 800-plus seat capacity, it has been almost forgotten over the years - so much so, that many Chattanoogans are not even familiar with the existence of this room. Some organizations have used the Walker to host events in the past. It has been used as the Jazzanooga Festival venue; the Lookout Wild Film Festival has grown into the Walker; and the Road to Nightfall finals were held there earlier this year. But besides these and a few other events here and there, the venue really hasn't been used in a consistent manner in quite some time.

But now, a new effort from the Tivoli Foundation has resulted in recent renovations to the theater, and announcements of new shows at the renewed venue are coming in crescendo. It all gets started Saturday, Oct. 14 with blues great Delbert McClinton. On Saturday, Oct. 28, more legends will take the stage as Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt join forces for a full night of country and Americana at the Walker. And tucked in between these two great shows is another anticipated performance. Oklahoma-based band Turnpike Troubadours will be welcomed to the Walker Theatre Monday, Oct. 23. Playing their own brand of country, mixing in elements of folk, roots-rock and honky-tonk, the Troubadours' music will surely make its mark on the theater, as it breathes new life and prepares to see more live music in its future.

New Music Playlist:

Rebel | Blitzen Trapper

Standing in the Sun | Grouplove

Hard to Say Goodbye | Washed Out

Sit Around | Of Good Nature

The Observatory | The White Buffalo

Good God a Woman | David Rawlings

Birds of a Feather, We Rock Together | Vulfpeck

Waiting on You | Head for the Hills

Ain't a Road Too Long | Brent Cobb

Save Yourself | Ferris & Sylvester

On the Level | Mac DeMarco

Quick | Tank and The Bangas

The Housefire | Turnpike Troubadours

Don't Make Me Get Up and Go | The Brothers Comatose

Drifting on a Summer's Night | The Deep Dark Woods

Bad Desire | Noah Gundersen

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