PICS: The Magnolia’s Opening Celebration

The Magnolia -- formerly the El Cajon Performing Arts Center -- officially opened its doors to the public on Sept. 10 with a big grand-opening celebration.

23 photos
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Alex Matthews
Good things come to those who wait, indeed: On Tuesday, Sept. 10, the city of El Cajon and Live Nation unveiled the revamped 1,210-seat venue located at 210 E. Main St.
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After sitting unused for years, the long-dormant El Cajon Performing Arts Center received a big facelift with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and projection systems.
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"The completely renovated Magnolia represents another jewel in the continued growth of the entire region," El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell said in a press release.
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"It’s Magnolia’s look, feel and vibrancy -- ranging from extra-wide rows to more leg room in the venue to a VIP lounge and new bars combined with some of the best sight lines and entertainment experiences -- that match any building anywhere in the country," Mitchell said.
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An intimate nook inside the Magnolia's interior.
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It’s a long time coming: The city of El Cajon and Live Nation Entertainment formally entered into a management agreement in December of 2017 that turned operative duties of the venue (which closed in 2009) over to the live-entertainment/ticketing behemoth.
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The two entities had plotted an opening in "the spring of 2019" but with the amount of work done to upgrade the facility, it's no wonder it opened just a few months late.
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The operation/management agreement requires Live Nation to present at least 50 shows a year initially, and with its opening lineup, they’re well on their way.
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Alex Matthews
Announced in July, notable musical artists scheduled to stop at the Magnolia include R&B legend Patti Labelle, jazz guitarist Al Di Meola, soul/pop/blues songsmith Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Norteno musician Ramon Ayala, rock & roll icon Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo...
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...along with prog-metal titans Dream Theater, the inimitable pop/folk crooner Art Garfunkel, Traffic’s Dave Mason, and former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung (among others).
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Also in the mix? The much-talked-about "Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly Rock 'N' Roll Dream Tour," which presents both iconic musicians as onstage holograms, is set to play at the venue on Oct. 1.
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During the grand-opening, attendees were treated to complimentary bites including street corn, tamales, dirty dogs and more.
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Aside from music, the Magnolia has also tapped other entertainment for its initial offerings including Countess Luann (from "The Real Housewives of New York") -- who performed last Friday.
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A party wouldn't be complete without a DJ on the ones and twos (J Soul Productions pictured).
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"MasterChef Junior Live," Stassi Schroeder (from "The Vanderpump Rules"), "PJ Masks" (a live version of the Disney TV cartoon show) and comedian Kathleen Madigan are also on the venue's fall lineup.
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Recent show additions include Colin Hay (from Men at Work fame) on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.
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Along with "It Was 50 Years Ago Today" -- a tribute to the Beatles' "white album" featuring Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Joey Molland on Sunday, Dec. 8.
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Its latest event announcement: Taj Express -- the Bollywood Musical Revue on Saturday, Oct. 12. Tickets are on sale now.
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El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells (pictured right) and City Manager Graham Mitchell (left) presented Live Nation representative Arich Berghammer (middle) with a proclamation declaring Sept. 10 as "Live Nation Day."
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Berghammer then presented the city of El Cajon with a special custom Fender Telecaster guitar as a gesture of the two entities' harmonious relationship.
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Attendees were treated to tours, caricature portraits by artists, ticket giveaways, reduced ticket fees at the box office and a limited-edition commemorative poster (shown here).
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The future is bright for the Magnolia and we can't wait to see plenty of shows at East County's new-and-improved venue!
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