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New owners, more music at Boiler 54

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Adam Wakefield is one of the new owners of the Boiler 54 performance venue in the back of the former R.H. Newell Shirt Factory in Medina at 115 West Center St. The new concert series kicks off on Friday. Wakefield is teaming with Kody Wagner with Boiler 54.

Dee Adams and Dave Kimball of Buffalo perform last August in Boiler 54. The concert series runs Fridays and Saturdays until near Thanksgiving.

MEDINA – An outdoor performance venue that serves beer and food has new owners and a new season that will kick off on Friday.

Adam Wakefield, 31, and Kody Wagner, 30, are friends since their junior high days in Medina. Now they are co-owners of Boiler 54, an open-air music and performance venue in the back of the R.H. Newell Shirt Factory building on West Center Street.

Boiler 54 will have musicians performing Friday and Saturday nights until Thanksgiving. The new owners may add Thursday and Sunday performances as well. They also are working on other amenities for the site, including a farmers’ market.

“This is a great space,” Wakefield said about the venue. “The acoustics are great.”

Many local and regional bands and musicians have played at Boiler 54 since it opened in 2012. Wakefield helped line up the bands last year. He said Boiler 54 is building a reputation in Western New York among musicians and music lovers.

“There is nothing like this in Western New York,” Wakefield said. “We hit our stride last summer. This is definitely becoming a very popular place.”

Friday’s shows start at 8 p.m. with performances by Dirty Vernon, a rock and roll cover band, and Minglewood, which performs Grateful Dead tunes.

Boiler 54 this season is dropping the $5 cover charge for everyone, including people 21 and under.

Wakefield and Wagner have a pub inside the building. Wagner built the bar himself. Concerts will shift inside when it is rainy or cold outside.

“Our aim is to turn this into a beer garden,” Wakefield said.

He sees synergy in downtown Medina, especially in the R.H. Newell building, which includes the Shirt Factory Café, a boutique hotel and a meadery to open in November. 810 Meadworks will produce alcoholic drinks combining some of the arts of making wine and beer.

Wakefield and Wagner are part of emerging group of young professionals and business owners in downtown Medina. Wakefield had been living in Buffalo and was part of the music scene there for the past decade.

He has seen Buffalo neighborhoods become vibrant places by embracing the arts, farmers’ markets and young adults.

“Entrepreneurship will save this town,” Wakefield said about Medina. “There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now. You just have to blaze a trail.”