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A bigger, better Hi-Fi opens Friday with Otis Gibbs

Take a quick look at improvements at the Fountain Square live music venue.

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Part of Team Hi-Fi, from right: Sam O'Connor, Erin Laird, Spencer Hooks, Josh Baker, Wesley Heaton, Tad Durham, Brian Presnell - JOEY SMITH
  • Joey Smith
  • Part of Team Hi-Fi, from right: Sam O'Connor, Erin Laird, Spencer Hooks, Josh Baker, Wesley Heaton, Tad Durham, Brian Presnell

When I hung out with Josh Baker, owner-operator of Fountain Square's Hi-Fi, to talk about the expansion of the space, I was left with one thought: This place is massive now.

"Being bigger and being able to be in the position to attract bigger acts would be the biggest reason why we did it," Baker says.

The new and improved Hi-Fi is easily twice the size of the old space, and a reorganization of the now-square space instead of the former long, rectangular shape means more people will get a better view of the stage in the new space.

RELATED: Craig Finn has faith in his future — his show at the Hi-Fi 

Baker told me, "We all had the same list everyone else had, what was [our] pros and cons. Like, 'Ah, you love going there, but the bathrooms sucks. It gets so hot.' So we just checked all those things off our list."

The Hi-Fi's reopening event on Friday features Otis Gibbs with Amy Lashley. Read more about the show in Barfly here. More upcoming shows include performances by The Tillers, Joan of Arc, Gangstagrass and Rainbow Kitten Surprise.


Here's a list of new things that come with the renovated space we learned on a tour of the venue with Baker:

1 .Twice the size means twice the capacity. Not only does that mean more room to get your groove on, but it also means attracting bigger acts to the venue. An AV upgrade means a bigger concert experience. The stage is bigger, the PA is better and the lights are brighter.

2. New bathrooms! Remember the old ones? They were rough, and by rough, we mean occasionally straight-up nasty. But not anymore — these new bathrooms smell good, look great and are now within the Hi-Fi, instead of being public bathrooms for anyone in the Murphy Building.


3.
The Hi-Fi gained three new cooling/heating units for quicker control of temperature. Baker: "One of the biggest problems with shows is that it would be too hot or too cold and now we can control that. The idea of being able to quickly control the temperature [is exciting.]"

4. The space now has a dedicated box office. Baker: "Having a dedicated box office is big, where we can be open before the shows happen, to help assist guests and stuff. Have someone answering the phones there. Still yet to be determined what the hours will be but we did just hire a person dedicated to box office manager." In total, the Hi-Fi renovation created nine new jobs at the venue.


5. NUVO's personal favorite part of the upgraded Hi-Fi is the new and improved bar, which now has 24 taps and more server stations — so we can all get our beers quicker.

6. The room now has a dedicated green room for the bands. And the more comfortable the bands are the better the shows will be, right? 


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