First Avenue, Minnesota's Mainroom, by Chris Riemenschneider
St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2017.
MNHS call number: Reading Room ML3534.3 .R54 2017, also available for purchase.
First Avenue & 7th Street, Band files and Related Records, 1977-2004
The band files provide a chronological record of performances at the popular music club during its first 23 years, and offer a representative glimpse of the alternative and indie rock acts popular in the U.S. during that period.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid
First Avenue & 7th Street Entry, Alam Ehsam
MNHS call number: available online
The rock music nightclub known as First Avenue & 7th Street Entry traces its beginning to the establishment by Allen Fingerhut in 1968 of a rock music bar called The Depot in the vacated Greyhound bus station that he had acquired at the corner of Seventh Street and First Avenue North at the edge of the warehouse district in downtown Minneapolis. Two years later the club was franchised out to the American Events Company (Cincinnati), which opened another of its Uncle Sam's chain of disco clubs on the site.
Facing financial problems in 1979, AEC left Minneapolis, returning operation of the club to Fingerhut. Club manager Steve McClellan, who had been booking occasional, mostly local, live acts in the club since 1976, began intensifying those efforts, focusing on the the growing punk music movement in Minneapolis. In 1980 the club was rechristened First Avenue & 7th Street Entry, First Avenue housing the main stage and 7th Street Entry--a former restaurant area in the old bus station--housing a smaller stage dominated by local alternative and indie rock acts.
Since 1980 the two stages have hosted hundreds of rock, R&B, funk, alt-country, blues, and worldbeat acts from around the world, as well as continuing to serve as a professional stage for developing local acts--Prince, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks, and many others--who went on to achieve national and international reknown. By 2000, the club boasted an annual attendance of 500,000 and an employee base of 120.