One of the city’s most popular live music venues has been sold to one of the country’s biggest music promoters.
Cathy Dethmers has sold her High Noon Saloon, 701 E. Washington Ave., to Madison-based Frank Productions.
The sale is expected to be completed in May and would bring a second Frank property to the rapidly growing East Washington Avenue corridor.
Frank is preparing to build and operate The Sylvee, a 40,025-square-foot music venue in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue in Gebhardt Development’s Cosmos project just a block away from the High Noon.
“We have happily watched Cathy’s success and were humbled when she asked us to consider buying the High Noon,” said Fred Frank, who owns Frank Productions with his brother, Larry Frank. “The relationship that already exists between our companies is going to make this a smooth transition, and we are excited to continue operating the High Noon as Cathy has built it.”
Dethmers ran O’Cayz Corral on West Wilson Street from 1994 to New Year’s Day 2001 when the business was destroyed by fire. She then spent three years trying to find a suitable place for her music club before finding a spot in the redevelopment of the Buy and Sell Shop, where she invested $300,000 to create what has turned into one of the prime live music spots in Madison.
Dethmers called the sale a “difficult and emotional decision” but said with two young sons at home it was time for a change. After working with Frank for years on concerts, she called the decision to sell to the Franks “an obvious choice” in a statement posted on the Frank Productions website.
“I’m confident they will maintain the legacy I’ve built there,” Dethmers said. “I’m proud that the High Noon has become such an integral part of the community, and a well-loved hangout for so many loyal and supportive musicians and fans. So it is crucial to me that the High Noon continues to play its unique role in the music scene, and carries on as a welcoming venue for all types of bands and community events.”
Frank Productions is a third-generation Madison company founded in 1964 that has grown to become the largest independent concert promoter in the country.
The Sylvee, the company’s 2,500-seat music venue, is scheduled to open in 2018 and is expected to be “a strong and complementary partner” to the High Noon, the Franks said.
“We have worked in close partnership with the High Noon Saloon to strengthen and support the Madison music scene,” Larry Frank said.