Beachland Celebrates 20 Years

Sun 3/1-Sun 3/29

Back in the late 1990s, local writer/editor Cindy Barber, who lives in North Collinwood, noticed the large number of musicians, artists and other creative types moving into that neighborhood. Once a strong blue-collar ethnic neighborhood, where Cleveland’s polka scene flourished after World War II, it had fallen on hard times, and its commercial thoroughfare had gotten shabby.

But that offered Barber opportunity. She had this idea that she wanted to create a hub, a hang-out for these creative people and their friends — a coffee shop, a restaurant, something, she wasn’t sure what. In 1999, she learned that the Croatian Home on Waterloo was for sale. With partner Mark Leddy, then the booker at Pat’s in the Flats, she bought it and turned it into the Beachland Ballroom. You can still see some of the building’s and the street’s history in the murals of Croatia that adorn the ballroom.

It opened in March 2000 and since then, it has been a key factor in revitalizing the street and the neighborhood — and the Cleveland music scene. It’s given touring bands of all sorts a springboard in both its small tavern and its larger ballroom and offered a place for local bands to grow their following. It’s provided a space for countless benefits, for School of Rock shows, burlesque and drag shows, punk yoga, record release shows, rock & roll flea markets and its popular weekend brunches. (It has one of the best club menus in town). It’s had good times and bad — competition from other clubs created stress, and some of the early businesses it attracted to Waterloo have gone under. But others have taken their place and are putting down roots.

The club has celebrated its anniversary every year the first week in March, but for the 20th it’s celebrating all month. It’s featuring 20 shows that show the range of bands that have found a home at the club, including metal, garage rock, jam band music, singer/songwriters, punk, indie and Americana. On Sat 3/14 it’s presenting a northeast Ohio band that is also celebrating a landmark anniversary this year, a really awesome one: Kent’s Numbers Band (15-60-75) marks its 50th anniversary. They’ll perform in the ballroom.

Find a full schedule of shows here.


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