Brent Brewer, a longtime promoter of live music in Bricktown, is set to spend $2 million transforming the Chevy Bricktown Events Center into what he hopes will become the city’s premier mid-size concert venue.
Brewer, who developed the multi-use venue in 1998 with his brother, Brett, and late father, Jim, has spent the past year working with TAP Architecture on plans to add balcony seating, three bars and a merchandise shop for visiting artists that will double as a conference room when the event center is booked for conferences.
“The vision is to still keep it as a multi-use facility, but yet increase the concert-going experience,” Brewer said.
“With the addition of a balcony and an overall makeover of the venue interior, the Chevy Bricktown Events Center will fill an important niche for Oklahoma City, allowing for larger concerts and more high-profile events. As a state-of-the-art performance venue, we will be better positioned to attract the mid-size touring acts to Bricktown.”
J.L. Walker Construction is set to start work May 1 with a reopening set for October. Brewer praised Benjamin Shullaw, who oversaw the TAP design team for the project, for helping realize his overall vision.
“He’s a music fan and he’s been to a lot of venues across the country,” Brewer said. “He sees what I see, he’s young, and he wants to see this market grow as a music hub. We’ve worked great together. I felt it was really neat that fate brought us together, that he saw the need for a space like this and I saw the want for a space like this.”
Brewer’s promotion of live music in Bricktown dates back to its earliest days as an entertainment district in the early 1990s. After enjoying gigs as a DJ and music promoter in college, Brewer oversaw booking of bands for the very first July 4th festival in Bricktown.
Brewer then launched and oversaw the staging of annual music festivals ranging from blues to reggae.
Attract more people
When the event center was first built by Jim Brewer in 1998, it was part of an ongoing effort by the pioneering Bricktown promoter and developer to attract more people to the district.
“The original vision was to look at developments and ideas to bring people to Bricktown,” Brewer said.
“We felt marketing and branding of the name was good at the time. It was the year the canal was being built, the ballpark was just opening, and we felt like we needed to bring the masses in to Bricktown to experience it. And we thought an event center could bring a few hundred people to Bricktown at a time.”
Over the ensuing years, the event center hosted a litany of legends including Merle Haggard, Joe Cocker, Alice Cooper, Etta James, Billy Idol, Robert Plant, The Killers, Toby Keith, Robert Cray and dozens more.
“We try to be diverse,” Brewer said. “It’s how we designed this venue. We’ve had great shows.”
But while the venue, Brewer said, “has good bones,” he felt it was time to upgrade the event center to the next level.
“Bricktown and downtown Oklahoma City has gotten to a point where I think it can support music in a mid-size venue on a consistent basis,” Brewer said.
The upgrade, he added, wouldn’t have happened without the involvement of the Oklahoma Chevy Dealers, which last year entered into a long-term sponsorship agreement for the event center.
“When the Oklahoma Chevy Team Dealers expanded their Bricktown involvement in 2013 to include naming rights of the Chevy Bricktown Events Center, we knew it was time to turn a new chapter in the venue’s history and give it the makeover it deserves,” Brewer said. “From the new balcony, new lighting and sound system, and a new interior design, we’re excited to see what the future holds.”