BAMP to open new Oahu concert venue
After six years and more than 200 shows, promoter BAMP Project is poised to elevate the local music scene yet again in 2011.
The Republik is the next step for Aubry Boutin, Matty Hazelgrove and Philip Pendleton, who were motivated to open their own place following the disappearance of another popular Honolulu nightspot in February.
"It has always been a goal for us to open our own concert venue," Hazelgrove explained earlier this week. "With the closure of Pipeline Cafe, we felt it was a good time to fill an obvious void for a mid-sized venue."
Although he didn't disclose specific details or terms, Hazelgrove said CAMP, LLC — a new company formed by the BAMP boys and local entrepreneur Charles "Chip" Jewitt — has signed a multi-year lease with Watamull Properties to open the Republik and operate it as both a concert venue as well as a location for fundraisers, art exhibits and other non-music related gatherings. CAMP also recruited Eggshell Lighting Company, Inc. and Hawaii Pro Sound & Video Rentals as minority partners in exchange for help building out the new room.
"It seemed to be the logical next step for us," said Hazelgrove. "It's going to allow us many more opportunities.
"We don't want it to be where it's the same as every other spot. We're looking at it as a musical revolution. The Republik is going to be a gathering place for anyone and everyone who loves music just as much as we do."
According to multiple sources, the Republik will take over the former location of China House Restaurant on Kapiolani Boulevard; the second floor space was most recently home to the O Lounge (pictured at left), which closed in 2009. While still too early in the process to make any real promises, Hazelgrove did say he hoped to see the Republik host its first event by the end of summer. Once demolition, construction and the installation of sound and lighting systems is finished, the new venue could possibly hold more than twice the number of people than the previous tenant.
"We don't have our capacity figures yet, but we feel it will be able to accommodate the majority of what we're doing," said Hazelgrove. "It's not going to be 100 percent perfect, but we want it to be better than everything else we've seen on Oahu, and we want it to be a great place for other people to bring shows to us.
"A lot of the venues that we work out of, we have to supplement everything so much that it's costly to put on shows. We have a lot of experience, so we know what's worked for us as promoters and what hasn't. We want the Republik to have everything there that we'll need — within reason."
According to BAMP Project, more details about the new venue — including an actual grand opening date — will be announced in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, they'll continue to promote concerts at other venues, including Blaisdell Arena and the wildly successful Kakaako Waterfront Park, a location BAMP brought back into use after being ignored by promoters for years.
Jason Genegabus is former HILife Editor at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Born in Honolulu and raised in Kailua, he now calls Kaimuki home. Contact him via email at email@example.com.