Venue providing a stage for musicians in Downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. — Transfer Co. Ballroom in Downtown Raleigh is providing a place for local musicians to showcase their talent. 

The event space that’s attached to the Transfer Co. Food Hall can hold up to 300 people and has been doing so since they kicked off their concert series in October. 

What You Need To Know

  • Transfer Co. Ballroom is a music venue in downtown Raleigh 
  • The event space can hold up to 300 people 
  • In 2023, they’ re planning kick off a showcase series with local talent 

Zack Johnson is in charge of booking talent for the venue and says there is a need for places for young artists to get their start. 

“For us it’s important to allow those opportunities for those artist because it’s not that easy to get booked. I started out that way as a kid in North Raleigh many years ago and we had one place on Six Forks called Players Club. And it was hard to get in but once you did, it was off to the races. So we just want to create more opportunities for those musicians,” said Johsnon, president of The Empire Agency and Cardinal Talent Group. 

The idea to turn the existing ballroom into a concert venue was sparked by Jason King. 

“He is a big music fan, the food hall has been here but he wanted to add the live music element,” Johnson said. 

Jamil Rashad grew up surrounded by music in Raleigh. Rashad goes by the stage name “Boulevards” and has noticed how the music scene has changed in the city. 

“I mean, I think every kid’s dream that you want to become like a rock star. You see Michael Jackson, you see Prince, you see Rick James, you see Mick Jagger,” Rashad said. 

Rashad’s father worked for the radio station at Shaw University. He says it had an influence on his music. 

“He used to always bring records home for me and my sister, always playing records in the house, on Sundays,” Rashad said. 

Rashad got his start in a punk band in 2007 before recording solo a few years later, going on to release his latest album “Electric Cowboy Born in Carolina Mud.” 

He plays at festivals and tours the country with his band, whose members are all from North Carolina. 

“Downtown not being a place where you want to be growing up, used to be ‘downtown is lame, I don’t want to go downtown.’ Now, it’s a place you want to go – downtown. See the music, see museums, eat the food and embrace the community,” Rashad said. 

Rashad says music is an important element to the culture of Raleigh. 

“For me, what I observe, what I experience …Raleigh has always been big in indie rock, hip-hop and the punk scene. To see it grow from not having any festivals, I think it’s great for the music scene. Transfer is going to open the other door, it gives another place an opportunity to bring the community together in a positive way,” Rashad said. 

Rashad recalls getting his start in the music industry by playing in smaller venues like Kings, which recently shut down. He says these smaller scale live music venues are crucial for young artists breaking into the industry. 

“When we have music venues like Pour House, and this place Transfers, you have Lincoln Theatre, it causes the community to thrive,” Rashad said. 

Transfer Co. Ballroom is holding ticketed concerts throughout December. Boulevards will be performing on November 26 with local Raleigh band, Jack the Radio. 

Johnson says they plan to kick off a showcase series in 2023 with bands who have never played their first show before. 

“They can be seen and be heard, and from there the beauty of social media, they can start to build their following,” Johnson said. 

In September, developer Kane Reality announced a new music venue coming to its Downtown South Development Project. The venue has the capacity to hold more than 3,000 people and will be the host of larger concerts in addition to the Red Hat Amphitheatre and Lincoln Theatre. 

JUST ANNOUNCED 📅 Cook’s Mill Whiskey and @CLTure are teaming up to bring a double-bill show of J Roddy Walston and Young Mister to the Ballroom on Sunday 11/13

This show will sell out, so grab your tickets while you can — starting at $20. Tickets 👇

— Transfer Co. Ballroom (@TransferCoVenue) October 18, 2022