Wayne is set to get a new music venue this week with the opening of 118 North. The endeavor is a collaboration between Ken Kearns of Rugby Road, the Ardmore Music Hall and the Thornton family, owners of popular local pubs, JD McGillicuddy’s, and is set to open on Feb. 15.
The focus of 118 North will be live music, with a slant toward local acts, appropriate given Kearns’ association with all things music in Wayne. Kearns runs the Wayne Music Festival each summer and his band, Rugby Road, is well known in the region, having opened for national acts like the Allman Brothers and Rusted Root.
Aside from the festival, Wayne doesn’t have many other musical draws, and Kearns wanted to change that. “We felt like the time was right and everybody was on board,” he says. They’ve transformed the space from a JD McGillicuddy’s into a full on music venue, complete with a state-of-the-art sound, stage and lighting system.
118 North will also serve food, focusing on a Southwest-inspired menu, plus local beers. The venue, which is 21 and over and has a $5 cover charge, will have live music six nights a week. The lineup is already robust. On opening night, Brian Seymour and Hezekiah Jones will perform. The following night, Waiting on Mango and Swift Technique are up. Of course it wouldn’t be opening weekend if Kearns himself wasn’t on stage. Rugby Road will headline on Feb. 17.
Like the opening weekend lineup, performers will be diverse. “We’re really focusing on making sure the programming and the music is top-notch, original, unique,” says Kearns. “We have four-man bands, we have funk bands, we have rock bands, we have ska bands, we have blues bands.”
Kearns is excited at the prospect of having a space to headline. “I’m really just looking forward to having a place right in town where we can really just do our full-length thing and get more of our original catalogue out there in one night, as opposed to our one-hour greatest hits set,” he says.
Ultimately, he hopes the intimate venue will showcase great local talent and draw people to the town. “I think it really will be a cool addition to the suburbs, not just Wayne, but suburban Philly,” he says. “I think it’s a really cool kind of anchor for the town.”
118 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne.