THE VAULT - SAGINAW
The Vault, is a venue showcasing national, regional, and local musical groups and artists spanning multiple genres, while catering to patrons with a venue unlike anything available throughout our region. Owner Bill Peters and Bill Silverthorn have been busy putting the finishing touches upon a dream that promises to serve as an Oasis upon the seemingly uncertain entertainment landscape of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
With a 30 foot stage, two floors featuring multiple bars on each level capable of servicing up to 770 people, a full-liquor license, and a 65,000 watt JBL sound system, not since the halcyon days of such large-scale venues as Shooters and Club Empire, has the tri-cities witnessed such an accommodating showcase for live musical entertainment; and indeed, it rivals anything south or north of the state in terms of layout and accommodation. Or as Silverthorn puts it: “This is a venue that was built by musicians, for musicians, and the musical fans that come to see them”.
“There’s no place like this around here,” explains Peters. “On the first floor we can hold 437 people and on the second floor we can accommodate another 330 people, with at least a half dozen service areas on each floor. People can also rent specific areas, or buy an area with their own waitress. Basically, the upstairs will serve as a VIP area and downstairs will be general admission; but really, there’s not a bad seat in the house.”
Formally known as the Florence Event Center, Peters decided to buy the building back in September, 2019. “My business, Sparkle Clean, is located right behind here, so I thought given that the property occupies 5 acres, it would function perfectly as a totally unique event center and entertainment venue. Both of us are musicians and while Bill still plays out, as I’ve gotten older I haven’t played out like I once did, so having played in clubs all over throughout our lives, we felt why not give this a shot. I had one of my buddies build me a 3 foot high and 30 foot wide stage; and that’s how it all started.”
After changing some interior colors and getting the venue into shape, The VAULT featured their first shows in January & February, featuring a Stone Temple Pilots Tribute band and a SoundGarden Tribute group. “We started out really well,” continues Peters,” and I went on vacation in March and then right when I got back, everything shut down because of COVID. A couple months later Bill and I opened this place up, knocked some walls out, and started developing and evolving our vision of what we wanted to see as a club. With Bill having been in L.A. and me down in other clubs down south, we developed a vision for fully maximizing the potential offered by the space afforded here.”
According to Silverthorn, who is working as the Vault’s Entertainment Director, he says they initially started with Tribute Bands because he found a nice niche in Chicago featuring top notch acts. “Chicago has a lively and active scene of serious tribute bands because The House of Blues runs them consistently, so there’s a bigger market for them. The ones we feature are first class acts at what they do, plus we feature local bands in our opening slots and want to work with as many locals artists as we can. We had a No Doubt Tribute band scheduled last March along with Audrey Burne, but then COVID hit and everything shut down, so that’s when it ended.
“We feature our own In-House P.A. and lights and are really a club for musicians built for musicians,” continues Silverthorn. “We have a state-of-the-art stage and sound system because when we start to feature national acts we’ll be set to accommodate them. The only reason we started with the Tribute Bands is because last January and February a lot of the national acts quit doing shows, but as things re-open, we’re going to be bringing a lot more bigger names into the mix.”
When asked what he feels is the biggest misconception people harbor about his venture, Peters points to its location. “Some people mistakenly point to the fact we are located in the South End of Saginaw and carry this notion that the neighborhood is not safe,” he states. “I’ve had a business here for 11 years and never encountered any problems. The neighbors are great, cops are everywhere; and while we are located in the City of Saginaw, it’s not a bad area. I’ve never had a single problem here. In many ways it’s like some of the neighborhoods that many of the great music venues in Detroit are located - just because they are located in urban environments doesn’t make them unsafe.”
As things start rolling Peters says he hopes to feature a Comedy Night on Thursdays and then the live shows on Fridays & Saturdays, along with the National Acts whatever night they want to perform. “If there are available on a Tuesday and want to perform and we have time to market it, we’ll work flexibly with their schedules. I feel between the Saginaw, Bay, Midland, and Genesee market regions we should be able to get 500 people every time we do a show here. We have a great staff and I’m confident community support will build.
“Recently we had Chase Engle & the Night Shift come in to do a video shoot, along with the Todd Michael Band, so I’m confident that as the buzz builds and more acts get showcased, there will be a lot of interest generated in terms of what we’re capable of delivering to the community.”
“We have a great stage, great lighting, great seating, and excellent service, which brings out the best in everybody.”
The ABOUT US section was taken from an article in the March 11 edition of the Review Magazine, written by Robert Martin.