Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton have long been the live music hot spots in North Texas. And that makes sense, considering their locations across the region and notoriety among national touring acts.
But in recent years, the dynamic has changed as more concert venues have opened in the suburbs. Since 2002, production company AEG Live has been luring fans to Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, and the Allen Event Center has made a commendable, if modest showing with concerts from Khalid and Meghan Trainor. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Live Nation’s Toyota Music Factory, the new amphitheater in Irving that has hosted dozens of high-profile shows including ZZ Top, Dave Chappelle and the Roots.
Add another to the list of suburbs hoping to solidify its place on the tour map: Plano.
Foodies may have already heard about Legacy Hall, the three-story food hall and brewery located in Plano’s swanky Legacy West development. When the spot opened in 2017, the outdoor patio and music venue known as the Box Garden was still under construction. Since early spring, it has been hosting a variety of free shows on weekdays and weekends, but owners also plan to host bigger artists and ticketed concerts.
This Friday, the Box Garden will have its first chance. The venue celebrates a grand opening with performance by local music heroine Sarah Jaffe, who recorded her first album, Suburban Nature, while living in Denton. Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co., which resides on the third floor of the building, also is releasing a Paloma cocktail-inspired beer named for Jaffe’s most recent album, Bad Baby, to celebrate the occasion.
With more than 20 food options and numerous bars throughout the complex, Legacy Hall doesn’t need music to attract a crowd. But owners have repeatedly said they wanted to differentiate this spot from others around the country.
“Food hall is definitely a trend right now around the world,” says Ramona Woodring, senior marketing manager of Legacy Hall. “But there isn’t one that has this.”
Woodring is referring to the 16,000-square-foot outdoor area filled with wooden tables and anchored by a large stage. The space, which can hold up to 1,600 people and can be viewed from the hall’s second and third story patios, is lined with several shipping containers — hence the name Box Garden — that have been converted into bars and restaurants. There’s one selling tiki cocktails, another slinging barbecue. There’s also a container serving libations called the Stillhouse that’s sponsored by Tito’s Vodka.
In April, Legacy Hall brought on longtime Dallas concert promoter Gavin Mulloy as its director of marketing. In addition to hosting local acts, Mulloy, whose resume includes stints at Trees, the Bomb Factory and the Granada Theater, hopes to bring regionally and nationally touring bands to Plano. He doesn’t expect the Box Garden to compete with neighborhoods like Deep Ellum because it’s serving a different crowd.
“There’s enough area for everyone to play in,” says Mulloy. “Just because you live in the same metroplex area doesn’t mean you’re going to it. I grew up in 817 [area code] and I just went to Fort Worth for the first time in four years.”
Though Legacy Hall’s popularity is unmistakable, whether suburbanites will support ticketed shows remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Box Garden general manager Tim Ziegler plans to draw crowds with free concerts and other events, such as yoga and pop-up farmers markets. The stage also has an LED screen to broadcast sports games and a Mario Kart tournament on June 5.
“At the end of the day,” Mulloy says, “we want to throw things that are fun.”
Sarah Jaffe performs Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Box Garden at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave., Plano. $25 on prekindle.com.