2014 - Venue Owner
Kent Larson began his career as a nightclub owner in Sioux City during the 1970s. His first club was called “Grandpa’s Passion Pit,” and was located on Hwy 75 in SIoux City. He decided to bring live entertainment to the Sioux City nightclub scene. He started with local bands on the weekends playing both country and rock ‘n roll.
“Grandpa’s” become one of Sioux City’s most popular nightclubs because of its live entertainment. Larson soon realized he hit on a great idea and decided to enlarge Grandpa’s by three fold. In 1977, he brought “Disco” music into the mix along with a house deejay. He continued to book local bands and then expanded to include regional bands.
Using the same format he had done in Sioux City, in 1977, Larson opened a second “Grandpa’s Passion Pit” in Vermillion, South Dakota. There he hired a house deejay and booked local and regional bands.
In 1979, Larson set out on a new venture when he leased the Roof Garden Music Hall in Arnolds Park, Iowa. He brought national bands Head East and Brownsville Station to the ballroom.
By the end of the seventies, Larson opened “After the Gold Rush,” a rock ‘n roll nightclub in Sioux City. Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Bone Steel were just a couple of the national acts that were booked to play the venue.
In the eighties, he opened “The Naked Zoo” in Sioux City. After two years, the “Naked Zoo” closed and Larson opened “Maxwell’s.” Ricky Nelson came and played at Maxwell’s.
After his success operating numerous nightclubs in Sioux City and his work with local and regional bands, Larson began promoting national performing acts to get them to come to the Sioux City area. Some of the bands he had success in booking include; Kiss, Jon Cougar, Joan Jett, LaRue, Vixen, Juice Newton, Nicolette Larson, Survivor, Frankie and the Knockouts, Head East, Molly Hatchet, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Stephen Wolf and the Little River Band.
His reputation as an honest and professional promoter enabled him to bring some of the biggest names in rock and roll and country music to the area. It goes without saying; Kent Larson was one of the largest promoter/nightclub owners in Sioux City and Northwest Iowa. His knowledge of music and the music scene allowed lovers of both rock and roll and country music to see their favorite, nationally known bands, in their own back yard. This helped lay the cornerstone for future, big name bands to book and play the Sioux City and Northwest Iowa area.
In 2004, after twenty eight years in the music business, Larson decided to retire.