Best Live Music Venues: The Fillmore

The Fillmore

This Week’s Venue – The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA

Imagine looking out over a sold-out room lined with balconies and hanging chandeliers, all the while knowing you’re standing on the same stage that Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead played on. It would certainly be difficult not to get swept up into the clutches of rock and roll lore, yet this image is a reality in San Francisco. The historic and instantly recognizable Venue of the Week, The Fillmore, provides this very experience, and the stage continues to act as a jumping-off point for emerging artists, even after all these years.

The Fillmore originally opened as a dance hall in the early 1900’s, serving as a destination for masquerade balls and the like. It continually remained a gathering place for events and the arts, and housed performances by James Brown and Tina Turner in the 50s. As an alternative culture of beatniks and their Bohemian community grew, The Fillmore remained in the center of it all.

By the mid-60s, the famous promoter Bill Graham had entered the fold, and began booking acts like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana in their infancy. As the San Francisco arts scene grew, The Fillmore fueled the 1960’s musical renaissance on the West Coast. Countless acts rose to fame on this stage, while growing legends like Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, and Cream played alongside them.

The rapid success led Graham to open The Fillmore East in the East Village of New York City, which for a three year stint, held many performances often turned into live albums still around today.

As the 60s faded away, The Fillmore made some changes and closed down for a few years, only to reopen in 1994. It’s continued to operate ever since, and remains an influential live music staple. The enduring legacy of Bill Graham’s vision still lives, as this iconic stage continues to act as a springboard for contemporary acts. In the next few weeks, the theater will feature Okkervil RiverKavinsky, Cults, Jeff Tweedy, and Volcano Choir. Check out our full list of notable upcoming shows below.

Upcoming Shows:

Sun. 10/20 – Chiddy Bang

Tue. 10/22 – Okkervil River 

Sat. 11/2 – Hot Tuna

Mon. 11/4 – Kavinsky

Thu. 11/7 – Family of the Year, Atlas Genius

Wed. 11/13 – Cults

Mon. 11/18 – Jessie Ware

Thu. 11/21 – Polica

Fri. 11/22 – Kate Nash

Sun. 11/24 – 3oh!3

Tue. 12/3 – Black Joe Lewis

Tue. 12/10 – Telekinesis

Wed. 12/11 – Jeff Tweedy

Thu. 12/12 – Jeff Tweedy

Wed. 12/18 – Icona Pop

Fri. 12/20 – Los Lobos

Sat. 12/21 – Los Lobos

Fri. 1/17 – Colin Meloy

Tue. 1/21 – Volcano Choir

Not on the West Coast? Go to Rukkus to find shows near you.

Article by Nicolas White


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