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WRJ Venue Splits With Tupelo

White River Junction — While the beat will go on at the music stage next door to the Elixir restaurant on South Main Street, the venue will go by a new name: Freight House Hall.

Citing “creative differences” with the management of Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H., which had rented the space to operate a Tupelo Music Hall here since 2010, Freight House owner Mike Davidson confirmed on Wednesday that he will take over the booking of performers with help from concert promoters such as Buddy Kirschner, of Norwich.

Last week, Tupelo had removed from its website all references to upcoming concerts at the White River Junction venue.

“We had a joint venture, and (Tupelo owner) Scott (Hayward) is focusing on Londonderry,” Davidson said in a telephone interview. “I believe that everybody we had booked for the immediate future will still be coming.”

Kirschner confirmed Wednesday that Peter Wolf, former lead singer and songwriter for the J. Geils Band, will play with his new group, The Midnight Travels, at Freight House Hall as scheduled on Aug. 23.

Neither Hayward nor the Tupelo office in Londonderry could be reached for comment Wednesday.

In August of 2012, almost two years into Tupelo’s partnership with Freight House, Tupelo closed for about a month, citing financial problems because of insufficient ticket sales. Finally, Hayward joined forces with Davidson, who acquired permission from the town of Hartford to offer more events in the space during the daytime, and to stretch its evening hours on weekends to a closing time of 1 a.m.

Hayward debuted the music hall in 2011 to complement the success of his original Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H. But, despite booking well-known acts, ticket sales didn’t live up to expectations.

The 4,000-square-foot venue is the only small, commercial music venue in the Upper Valley, and has drawn well-known acts such as Judy Collins and Paula Poundstone for intimate performances. Capacity ranges from 150 to 240 people, depending on whether tables are used.

Kirschner said that he is willing to help with forthcoming concerts at Freight House because the Upper Valley still needs a commercial listening room more modest in size than the likes of the Lebanon Opera House, where he had initially booked Wolf until ticket sales slowed.

“This will be a better place to see (Wolf) and acts like that,” Kirschner said. “You’re going to be a lot closer to him. And it’ll be a better atmosphere to have this one packed with people.”

Kirschner said he will provide concert and ticket information for the venue at kconcerts.com/venues/venueevents/98-freight-house-hall until Freight House establishes its own website.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.