Live music will soon return to the Iron Horse Music Hall in downtown Northampton for the first time in four years. The music hall, which closed in March 2020 at the start of Covid, will reopen in May under the leadership of The Parlor Room Collective (PRCO), a local non-profit organization that hosts musical shows and educational workshops for musicians at other Northampton venues.
The reopening will occur on May 1 of this year, according to a Feb. 1 press release by PRCO. The Iron Horse’s first acts will be announced on Feb. 15, and tickets will go on sale on March 5.
“The Iron Horse Music Hall, an iconic symbol of Northampton’s vibrant music and arts scene, is poised to reclaim its place at the heart of the community,” said Naomi Nye, director of marketing for the organization. The music hall has hosted both locally and nationally known musicians across a wide variety of genres since its opening in 1979, including artists such as Grammy award-winner Shawn Colvin.
Henry Bontempo ’26, who heard about the Iron Horse through PRCO and followed its progress closely, expressed his enthusiasm for the hall’s reopening, noting that its absence has been a source of concern for community members for some time.
“When I got to Amherst, I heard about the Iron Horse because it’s a major venue, and it got a lot of national [artists] … there’s been pressure to reopen it or sell it from Northampton’s populace and Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
PRCO purchased the hall from former owner Eric Suher in September 2023, and in addition to receiving a grant from the city of Northampton, the collective launched a capital campaign to obtain the funding necessary to reopen the hall. PRCO continues to accept donations toward the opening and renovation of the hall on the Iron Horse’s website.
In addition to hosting live musical acts, the hall will now also boast a restaurant with a menu prepared in collaboration with Dave Schrier, a James Beard Award semifinalist, and operator of the restaurant Daily Operation in Northampton. PRCO will be taking applications for a wide range of restaurant positions as the hall’s reopening date approaches.
“The Iron Horse has been a symbolic and literal heartbeat of music in western Massachusetts,” said Chris Freeman, the Executive Director for PRCO. “We’re honored to continue its tradition of providing exceptional live music experiences while fostering inclusivity and community.”