(Photo Courtesy of the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University)

This concert flyer, which is undated but would have been distributed sometime between 1990 and 2010, is a typical example of what venues in Cleveland and elsewhere use to advertise their concerts.[1] This particular venue, the Agora, has played a large role in booking acts in Cleveland that advocate for social justice.

The club, which was, “Originally seen as a dance club for college students…”[2], quickly became known nationally and soon became a concert venue ‘chain’, with its flagship remaining in Cleveland.[3] The Agora also opened the first in-venue recording studio in America, which opened in 1968.[4] In addition, the Agora received its own internationally syndicated television show, named “Onstage at the Agora”.[5] Various national groups who focused on themes of social justice, including Bruce Springsteen, the Michael Stanley Band, and Peter Frampton, performed at the Agora in the 1970s.[6]

The Cleveland Agora is still in use, though many of their acts are lesser known on a national scale than was the case in their beginnings. Nonetheless, their survival through various iterations over the years is much different than the case of other famous Cleveland music venues that have shut down, such as Leo’s Casino, where Otis Redding performed his last concert before the plane crash that took his life.[7]

[1]Cleveland Memory Project, “The Cult, Original Members”, Cleveland State University, http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/postcards/id/4601/rec/2.

[2]“The Cleveland Agora,” Cleveland Historical, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/1.

[3]“The Cleveland Agora”, Cleveland Historical.

[4]“The Cleveland Agora”, Cleveland Historical.

[5]“The Cleveland Agora”, Cleveland Historical.

[6]Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, “Agora/Agora Ballroom”, Case Western Reserve University. https://case.edu/ech/articles/a/agoraagora-ballroom/.

[7]“Leo’s Casino”, Cleveland Historical, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/5.