The Westcott Theater

 

Overview: One would find it very hard to believe that this venue frequented by Syracuse University students on an almost weekly basis was established in only 2008. Since then, the Westcott Theater, (or as it is more colloquially known, ‘The Westcott’), has grown exponentially in both size and standing among Syracuse University students, as well as the Syracuse community in general.

Due to its easy accessibility for students via bus, car, or walking, the Westcott Theater is a popular concert venue for many students on campus. The theater frequently brings in talent on a local and national level, and ticket prices almost never exceed $30 – $35. The venue also never seems to have shows exclusively for people 21 years of age or older – so for underage students, attending a concert at the Westcott is a positive alternative to a night of drinking at the bars on campus.

Because of the theater’s small size, shows at the Westcott Theater are almost always an intimate experience. The venue itself has two floors, with the stage, bar, and merchandise booth located on the first floor, and bathrooms located upstairs on the second floor. (Be warned however, the bathrooms only have two stalls, which almost always result in immensely long lines during any and all shows.) The physical construction of the actual building is not the most aesthetically pleasing. However, because the Westcott brings in such amazing artists on both a local and national level, it is renowned for the shows it puts on and its physical structure and appearance can be overlooked.

Entertainment:

Overview: The Westcott Theater’s true shining attribute is the phenomenal musical acts it brings to its venue. Unfortunately, the majority of the time the Westcott brings big name talent to the theater on weekdays and school nights, which sometimes hinders students from coming out and enjoying a show, despite frequently cheap ticket prices.

In the 2012 – 2013 school year alone, the Westcott brought many big name artists across all varieties and genres of music, including Coheed and Cambria, The All American Rejects, 3lau, Dada Life, Fedde Le Grand, Excision, Datsik, Griz, Hinder, Aaron Carter, Kapslap and countless others. Tickets for many of these shows sold out entirely, days in advance, with the vast majority of audience members were Syracuse University students.

Electronic Dance Music at the Westcott: Perhaps the Westcott Theater’s greatest attraction for Syracuse University students is that it has started to bring many electronic dance music artists to the venue. Electronic dance music, (or ‘EDM’ as it is more colloquially known), is a music genre that is rapidly increasing in popularity, especially among teenage and college age students. Though the genre has been around for decades, as EDM has begun to be more mainstream, the Westcott Theater has taken notice. In this regard, at a school like Syracuse, which is known sometimes as much for its social activities as its academics, it is no surprise that EDM, which is all about partying, dancing, and having an all around good time, is increasing immensely in popularity. Fortunately, Syracuse fans of the genre are helping the Westcott reap the benefits of bringing big EDM names to the venue.

In the past two years alone, the Westcott Theater has brought numerous renowned DJs to its venue – some ranking among the best in the world. Famous talent of this genre that have performed at the Westcott Theater include Steve Aoki, Dillon Francis, Deniz Koyu, Krewella, Above & Beyond, Skrillex, Dirty South, Laidback Luke, Flux Pavilion, and many others. The caliber of talent and popularity of the electronic dance music genre at the Westcott have been attracting a lot of attention, both from the community of Syracuse and especially the Syracuse University student body. Slowly but surely the Westcott Theater is becoming the premier venue for student electronic dance music enthusiasts due its close proximity to campus and amazing shows.

Food and Drink: Located on the first level of the Westcott with comfortable proximity to the stage is a bar that serves a variety of alcoholic beverages, beers, and bottled water. The Westcott also has a water fountain on its first level located towards the back of the floor. Food is rarely sold at the venue, but at select events, particularly electronic dance music entertainment, gum and lollipops are sold at the merchandise stand towards the back of the theater on the first floor by the water fountain. No outside food or drink is ever permitted.

Security: Though not intensive by any means, recently the Westcott Theater has been stepping up and tightening its security for many of their shows. No outside food or drink is permitted, not even small items such as lollipops or gum. Bottled water is also not permitted, but can be purchased at the bar located at the first level inside the theater. Females are subject to having their purses searched, and both males and females are usually lightly patted down by security to ensure that no illegal items enter into the theater.

Community Standing: Recently, the Westcott has been receiving some bad press due to excessive noise complaints. After a show on March 4th of this year that ran past until 2 AM and received several noise complaints, the venue has become increasingly attentive to concerns of the community and to being more considerate of its volume post-shows. The Westcott has even gone as far as telling artists that they may not park their tour buses too close to the venue, and giving them a strict curfew by which they have to be off stage. In addition to noise complaints, after a part of the ceiling collapsed during a show in October of 2012 injuring many people, numerous safety concerns flooded the theater. The Westcott also often suffers from technological difficulties during electronic dance music shows, as the volume of the artists during their sets often exceeds what the equipment at the theater is capable of accommodating.

The electronic dance music scene is also frequently associated with excessive drug use, and because of the recent increase in bringing this type of entertainment to its venue, the theater is no longer becoming the ‘community friendly’ place it tried to promote when it was first established in 2008. However, with the recent enforced strictness that the theater is attempting to implement in regards to noise, safety, and security, the Westcott is attempting to fix this image. Unfortunately, to many Syracuse University students, it is still known as a place that is rather lax in terms of security, and has a reputation on campus as a venue where access to drugs and alcohol is readily available.

Address: 524 Westcott Street Syracuse, NY 13210

Contact: For general questions please email , or call (315) 299-8886. For any ticket related questions, please call contact Frontgate Tickets at 888-512-SHOW. For rental information please call (315) 299-8886.

Attire: N/A. Very casual.

Payment: The Westcott Theater accepts cash, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.

Hours: Hours are subject to change whenever an event is taking place at the theater. For more information feel free to call (315) 299-8886.

Directions (From Syracuse University):

Walking (About 20 Minutes):

  1. Head north on South Crouse Avenue toward Waverly Avenue.
  2. Turn right onto Waverly Avenue.
  3. Turn left onto Ostrum Avenue.
  4. Turn right toward Thornden Park Drive, and continue about 75 feet.
  5. Turn right toward Thornden Park Drive, and continue for 0.1 miles.
  6. Turn left onto Thornden Park Drive, and continue for another 217 feet.
  7. Turn right onto South Beech Street.
  8. Take the next left and turn onto Dell Street.
  9. Turn right onto Westcott Street. The destination will be on your left.

By Bus (About 15 Minutes):

On weekdays, students can catch the #530 bus from College Place, which makes stops down Euclid as well as Westcott Street. This bus route is not in service on the weekends. For a complete bus schedule, please visit: http://parking.syr.edu/Parking/uploads/20120904%20530%20Sch.pdf.

By Car (About Five Minutes):

  1. Head north on South Crouse Avenue toward Waverly Avenue for 0.5 miles.
  2. Turn right onto East Genesee Street, and continue for 0.9 miles.
  3. Turn right onto Westcott Street, and continue for 0.3 miles. The destination will be on the right.

Parking: Parking is available across the street and to the right of the theater. Parking is free, however spots are limited.

 References:

  1. Alissa Meagher, Westcott Theater promoter/employee

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