Scott Bell has been a pivotal behind-the-scenes figure in Lansing’s music scene for years. He’s booked countless shows at venues and festivals throughout the area while also touring the world as a road manager for bands. Those years of hard work will reach a new level with the opening of Grewal Hall at 224, a new music venue in the heart of downtown Lansing. The venue’s name combines Grewal Law, its naming sponsor, and its address at 224 S. Washington Square. Its already stacked schedule kicks off July 15 with The Verve Pipe.
Bell, 36, is one of five Grewal Hall at 224 partners and doubles as the newly remodeled room’s talent buyer. Built in 1926, the 6,000-square-foot space has a standing room capacity of 900, fits up to 225 in formal banquet seating and accommodates 400 in a theater arrangement. As for the concert calendar, Bell said, “Expect rock, country, EDM, metal, pop, jazz and gospel to all have a home here.”
Here’s what else Bell had to say.
How did you end up in the music booking and management world?
Scott Bell: I started setting up out-of-town bands with shows (in Lansing) because I was sick of driving to Detroit to see the music I cared about. There’s something in the back of my brain that’s always pushed me to be as close to live music as possible. Without that connection to artists creating something special on stage every night, I would be completely lost. Being a promoter, tour manager or stagehand was the best way I knew how to fit into this whole thing.
Did your years of experience help with ideas for Grewal Hall at 224?
So much of what has gone into Grewal Hall has come from working in venues across the country for 15 years. We will have a gorgeous 30-foot bar with satellite stations, depending on the gig. The main floor, steel mezzanine overlooking our stage and basement will have a total of 25 bathrooms and Americans with Disabilities Act access with an elevator. The venue is going to thrive on its accessibility.
What was the process of getting the building ready like?
We closed on the property on Dec. 31, 2022. We’ve been restoring and reinventing every part of this 100-plus-year-old structure. The space has been nearly every kind of business. It was the original Knapp’s location. It’s been shoe stores, restaurants and nightclubs. We even have a photo somewhere of Magic Johnson disco dancing in the back. Breathing new life into a forgotten corner of downtown was a piece of this project we relished from the beginning.
Would you say this fills a void in Lansing’s music venue market?
If your community takes arts and culture seriously, you need to have venues of every size: big, medium and small. You need to have a place local and regional artists can aspire to play. In the Lansing and East Lansing area, we were missing a 900-capacity venue that can host national and international touring artists. One of our goals with Grewal Hall at 224 is to make people outside the 517 area code think of Lansing as a destination for live music and events.
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