We have a lot of event venues in the Non Plus Ultra portfolio, all of which come with a rich history. Get to know our venues like you never have before! This week get to know our cool and modern Downtown SF spot, SVN West. This brief history includes a basic rundown of how the building came to be, information about the venue’s time as the Fillmore West, and Non Plus Ultra’s takeover.
SVN West was opened in 1968 by concert promoter Bill Graham. Located at the corner of Market and South Van Ness, this three-story building was built to host concerts during a time when rock music was huge. During its existence, the building has also been known as the Carousel Ballroom, the Fillmore West, and a Honda dealership.
The Fillmore West
During its first run as a music venue, the Fillmore West hosted the biggest names to hit the music industry. Those names include Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, The Who, BB King, and Elton John. The Fillmore West came to because Bill Graham needed to find a bigger location to relocate to from his Fillmore Auditorium. He found the Fillmore West, which was called the Carousel Ballroom at the time.
The Fillmore West was the sister venue of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, located on Second Avenue in New York City. The Fillmore East made its debut in 1968, and quickly became the Church of Rock and Roll. Bill Graham’s New York space also hosted some of the greatest names in music history, including Jimi Hendrix, Ike & Tina Turner, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, and Led Zeppelin.
Both the Fillmore West and Fillmore East were closed by Bill Graham in 1971. This was because of his displeasure with the changes that were happening in the music industry. The Fillmore West said its final goodbye with five nights of concerts staring bands like Santana and the Grateful Dead.
Non Plus Ultra’s Takeover
During the interim between event venues, the soon-to-be SVN West became a car dealership. Then, because of some clever negotiations with San Francisco officials, Non Plus Ultra was able to take over the space. Once the city is ready to move forward with other plans for the space, they’ll take it over.
Thanks to NPU, the former Fillmore West became SVN West. SVN’s first concert in almost 50 years was the 2018 benefit concert held by Non Plus Ultra for our own foundation, PROJECT WRECKLESS.
SVN continues to bring people joy and entertainment to this day. Between the nostalgic feeling you get when thinking about what the space once was, and the excitement you feel about the revitalization of the space, you can’t help but feel jazzed about all the events that the future holds for this space.