The Chesterfield Club

2014 - Spirit Award

The Chesterfield isn't a bar with the occasional band onstage. It's a venue built for live music.

For the past eight years, the Chesterfield has brought quality music to the forefront with top-of-the-line equipment, a sound technician and lots of national and local musicians every weekend.

The venue didn't focus on any one music genre but rather opened its stage up to all musicians from metal core to rap to dubstep, even though the owners covered their ears at times.

"To say that I like live music and support it is an understatement," said Rick Swanson, who opened the Chesterfield in 2006 at 1225 Fourth St. along with local music promoter Brent Stockton. Swanson sold the venue to current owner Mick Gamet three years ago.

The Chesterfield has dominated Siouxland's Choice Awards best place to hear live music since the Weekender added the category in 2008.

"We provided a venue for all types of music without prejudice toward a type or a genre," Swanson said.

The Chesterfield started the first local jam night giving garage bands the chance to get out and play live. The Red Dirty Turkeys got its start at that jam night, Swanson said, as did a handful of other local act.

When Gamet took over the venue, he started a Wednesday open mic night, hosted a drag show and gave young bands like November 35th, a group of high school-aged musicians, the opportunity to take the Chesterfield stage.

"A lot of bars wouldn't give any of these people a chance," Gamet said.

The venue also hosted local music festivals like Battle of the Bands, Bolin Fest and Drumfest and participated in Awesome Biker Nights.

Swanson credits the Chesterfield's success in part to the quality of the stage and sound equipment. When he first started, Swanson said, most venues -- inside and outside of Sioux City -- didn't have a sophisticated sound system with a sound technician. The Chesterfield also has a drum set, amps and other equipment ready and available for bands to use.

Swanson renovated the space, pulled out the neon carpet of the former disco club and adorned the venue with music memorabilia from his own collection. He also owns sound production and construction businesses, and did many of the renovations himself.

He sold the Chesterfield to Gamet who had been working at the club as a bartender since it opened. One day he was serving the beer, Gamet said, and the next he was paying for it, too.

Gamet hopes to continue bringing bigger and bigger acts as well as maintaining the Chesterfield's reputation as place for every type of music.

"We're not a bar that has bands," Gamet said. "We're a live music venue."

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