Barry Waldrep’s vision for an intimate music venue in Wedowee is becoming a reality.
Waldrep’s 48 West, which is in the newly renovated former Church of Christ building in Wedowee, will open it’s doors for the first time with two shows this weekend, with the Friday’s show already sold out.
“These tickets have sold quickly, so I think the community is well in support of this,” Waldrep said. “We had a lot of people who wanted to tickets for Friday night but waited too late to buy. A lot of people won’t be able to get in that really wanted tickets for Friday.”
The venue, which Waldrep describes as a “listening room,” will seat 114 people with a table-and-chair setup. They will not serve food inside, but the RC Street Eats food truck will be set up outside this weekend selling food that people can take inside the venue for the show.
Friday’s debut show will feature John Berry, who has been performing since the mid 1980s when he got his start singing at bars in Athens, Georgia, following University of Georgia football games.
He hit the height of his fame in the early to mid 1990s when he landed the No. 1 country hit “Your Love Amazes Me” in 1994. He had several other top-10 hits in the 90s, including “I Think About it All the Time” and “She’s Taken a Shine,” among many others.
Waldrep said there are still a few tickets left for Saturday’s show with Mike Farris, who began his musical career as the front man for a band called Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies in the early 1990s. Later in his career he pivoted from rock to gospel and blues and has received critical acclaim collaborating with artists like Joe Bonamassa and Reese Wynans.
“I’ve done these things before, and it’s really exciting to bring it to Wedowee,” Waldrep said. “We really want people to know that it will be a great musical experience.”
Renovations on the building began in earnest shortly after Waldrep purchased the building in downtown Wedowee earlier this year. The initial plan was to set up the room to seat 135 people, but Waldrep decided to reduce that capacity to 114 to create a better experience.
“We didn’t want to pack it so tight that everybody’s uncomfortable,” Waldrep said. “And that’s with tables and chairs. We could have an event, we could do 135 people with just seating only. We would just have to reconfigure the way things are. But I did a lot of surveying with people before, and most people like a table, so that’s what we did.”
Shows will be sporadic at the venue at first, as many of the artists Waldrep will target to perform are booked up several months in advance.
“There will be shows this year, but it won’t be an every week thing at the very beginning, just because we can’t book the artists because of their schedules,” Waldrep said. “It’s going to take a good six months to really get it started like we want it.”
Tickets for John Berry’s show were $35 and for Mike Farris’s show they are $30. But those prices will vary by artist, and the venue will also feature local artists and up-and-comers as part of the regular rotation of shows.
Tickets can be purchased on the venue’s website 48West.Live.