NORTHAMPTON — A legendary music venue in the heart of Northampton is on the verge of seeing the light of day in a couple of months.

In multiple posts on social media, the Parlor Room Collective announced the first slate of shows for the Iron Horse Music Hall between May and September.

The schedule right now features a wide range of acts that bring different vibes, according to Chris Freeman, the executive director of the Parlor Room Collective.

A grand opening show is scheduled for May 15, featuring Rachael & Vilroy, with special guest Taylor Ashton. Freeman said this performance will be a fully seated jazz show.

Other performances include a free kids show from Latin Grammy-award winning artist Mister G on the morning of May 26, a 1980s hair band-style performance from The Alarm on May 28, a show from legendary soul singer Betty LeVette on June 14, a performance from multi-national Celtic band Gaelic Storm and a May 25 performance from Mtalia Banda; whose music contains elements of jazz, funk, soul, folk, R&B and hip hop, according to the artist’s website.

“There’s all sorts of different things,” Freeman said.

Despite already announcing a hefty slate of events for this year, Freeman made it clear that the Iron Horse has plenty more shows to announce. He added that he expects more shows to be announced every week.

“This is just a small, small percentage of the shows we are in conversations with artists and agents about,” Freeman said. “We have a bunch of shows that are confirmed that just haven’t been announced yet. We have more shows coming in May, more in June, and a ton more in July and August.”

Freeman said the goal is to officially open the Iron Horse on May 1 and host a series of community events leading up to the May 15 grand opening show, but a decision on that will be made as inspections and renovations continue to happen.

The announcement of these shows comes months after the Parlor Room Collective officially completed an agreement with former owner Eric Suher to purchase the Iron Horse Music Hall, which is located at 20 Center. St., back in September.

Because the Iron Horse building is owned by Central Chambers Realty Trust, the Parlor Room Collective signed a lease for up to 15 years.

The Iron Horse was originally established in 1979 and purchased by Suher in 1995. The hall was a major destination for live music in Northampton until it closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19. Aside from a performance in 2021 that ultimately fell through, the hall has been closed since.

Current steps

Freeman said that they have recently received their construction and building permit, which means they are now fully fledged in the renovation process for the Iron Horse.

As of press time, they are currently framing the bathroom walls and the new layout of the basement, as well as renovating the kitchen and waiting for a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit to come in.

“That’s probably the number one thing is getting the air filtration system up and running because it is an extremely necessary thing,” said, Freeman, who expects the HVAC system to arrive in March. “It’s going to be a much healthier building when that comes in.”

The collective is also framing the bar and bathroom and working on the sound system, lighting, stage design and painting the front of the building.

Freeman said the goal is to maintain the history of the Iron Horse while simultaneously making sure all the things that need to be fixed, will be fixed.

“We’re not trying to put our own artistic vision in the place,” Freeman said. “We’re just trying to bring it back in a health and accessible way while retaining the history, and giving the community a place where we can write an amazing future for the place.”

Aside from the renovations, Freeman said other immediate next steps in the process include hiring bartenders and an executive chef. He said the Parlor Room Collective is currently working with David Schrier from Daily Operation to write the menu for Iron Horse.

“The menu is looking amazing,” Freeman said.

The Parlor Room Collective is also continuing to spearhead its capital campaign, where they are asking community members to donate to help revive the Iron Horse. Freeman said they are a little more than halfway to their goal of raising $750,000.

“The community’s coming together to make it happen,” Freeman said. “We’ve had, I think, over 700 people have donated to this campaign so far, so it’s really an awesome show of support from the whole community.”

Tickets for the upcoming shows will be on sale from March 5 to 12 for Parlor Room Collective members and then starting on March 15 for the general public. Freeman said anyone with an EBT card or on MassHealth can receive a free membership with the Parlor Room Collective.

Readers can find updates on the full list of shows by visiting the Iron Horse website: https://ironhorse.org/.