Quartyard concept

Urban venue loses its space but finds its way

Heading into its final year at its current location, urban music venue Quartyard brings DJ duo Flosstradamus to town this Friday night.
  • Heading into its final year at its current location, urban music venue Quartyard brings DJ duo Flosstradamus to town this Friday night.

Good news: you get a 30,000-square-foot lot of prime downtown real estate to hold events.

Bad news: the East Village property is so in demand that plans are afoot to plop a highrise on the lot.

The Reader announced in December 2014 that a series of live shows would be presented on a vacant city-owned lot bound by Market and G streets and Park Boulevard. The series would be known as Quartyard and the idea was to bring local and national acts to the fenced-in area. Guests would get to partake in food and craft beer.


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The idea was hatched by three architects of the New School of Architecture and Design who imagined a new active use for unused urban space. They created a company called RAD Lab and scored financial backers to execute the Quartyard urban music-venue concept.

Since March of last year, the Quartyard series has hosted slam-dunk shows headlined by EDM artist Skrillex and reggae blue blood Stephen Marley. The heavy-hitting DJ duo Flosstradamus appears Friday, September 30.

Two of San Diego’s promising artists, Birdie Bardot and Dani Bell & the Tarantist, appear Thursday night, September 29.

“We are architects and contractors, not concert promoters,” says RAD Lab’s Adam Jubella. “We learned the best thing we could do was create strong partnerships with quality promoters.”

The RAD Lab guys learned that real estate was king in the lucrative EDM realm, and that their space was sought after by the two major electronic local promoters LED and Crssd Fest, who happily used the lot for packed electronic dance paries.

While EDM festivals are being restricted in L.A. and San Bernardino Counties because of drug-related deaths, Quartyard had no such issues with its EDM shows, possibly because the music must stop by 11:30 p.m. Jubella says partnering with outside promoters such as Belly Up and the Casbah gave the Quartyard its dependable turnouts.

“We also learned that private events were the most lucrative,” Jubella says. “We’ve had three weddings and two or three corporate events.”

But the clock is ticking for Quartyard at its current location. Jubella says he expects that Quartyard will continue in its current location until July, 2017. That is when he anticipates ground-breaking for the new high-rise.

“The plans are being reviewed right now by the city,” says Jubella.

The Quartyard

1301 Market Street, East Village

He says the RAD Lab Team have already scoped out possible next moves.

“We are talking to the people at Liberty Station. Maybe we’ll move over there. We’re also speaking with the City of Riverside. We are looking to Arizona. Other places with metropolises with land who want to do something similar.”

He says there is even a chance they will get to stay in their present location.

“The new owners [by mandate of the city] have to have a courtyard of some kind to have public events like this. They like what we’re doing.... I think they may want to stick with our concept.”

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