Castle Theatre Owners Buy Peoria Music Venue | WGLT

Castle Theatre Owners Buy Peoria Music Venue

Dec 21, 2017

The owners of the Castle Theatre in downtown Bloomington will soon have a second music venue in central Illinois.

The Castle's ownership group announced Thursday that it's buying the Limelight Eventplex in Peoria. The 1,500-capacity venue will be rebranded the Monarch Music Hall.

"The Peoria venue will get an updated sound system and a new look and feel," said Rory O'Connor, part of the ownership group. A grand opening will take place in March.

"New ownership will continue to bring the entertainment that the Peoria community has enjoyed as well as a renewed relationship with Inked Entertainment on select events at both the Monarch and Peoria Riverfront," said O'Connor.

He also said the type of music acts at the Monarch won't be appreciably different from the current lineup at the Limelight.

"We may be a little more eclectic, a little more like we're doing at the Castle Theatre," O'Connor said on GLT during Morning Edition. "Maybe a little more indie-rock and rockin' blues, and maybe more Americana like we like to do at the Castle."

He also said owning both venues will help in leveraging the booking of bands in both towns.  For example, he said the Castle Theatre competed with the Limelight Eventplex for the recent Flogging Molly show that eventually landed in Peoria.

"We put in a real healthy bid for it, but the sheer capacity of the Limelight gave the band more potential on the back end, thus we didn't get the show," said O'Connor. "So it is going to get us some shows we can't get at the Castle."

The ownership group acquired the Castle in 2010, turning the once-dormant former movie theater into the heart of a resurgent Bloomington-Normal music scene. The Castle holds 800.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the Castle Theatre's ownership and to add comments from Rory O'Connor from the ownership group.

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