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Big plans for new all-ages venue

The writing’s on the wall, spelled out in block letters, scrawled in black magic marker ink.

Tracy Rader is proud of the graffiti, eyeing various signatures from assorted local bands the way a dad marvels at his kid’s first attempts at penmanship.

Standing in the greenroom in new all-ages venue The Farm, Rader is in the midst of overseeing the venue as it gets ready for its grand opening this weekend. As a band sound checks for a recent Wednesday evening show, Rader gives a quick tour of The Farm, in a strip mall at 5597 S. Rainbow Blvd., next to Living Dead Tattoos and the Moto Cafe.

It’s a big, open room with blue floors and yellow walls, with an official capacity of 389 people, though the space seems like it would comfortably hold twice that. A large black stage sits in the center of the room, adjacent to a couple of brown couches and soda machines.

To launch such a sizable teen-friendly venue in a town where all-ages clubs seem to come and go with the changing of the seasons is a rugged endeavor, but Rader has done it before. The Vegas native helped launch the Showcase Theater in Corona, Calif., more than a decade ago, eventually returning home only to be dismayed by the state of the local music circuit.

"I just came back and saw what was going on locally, which sucks. It’s been such a decline," says Rader, an energetic, fast-talking dude in a gray fedora. "The approach to The Farm was to bring back a place for kids to play that they’ll be proud of. I want it to be an all-ages CBGB’s, an all-ages Troubadour."

In addition to a promising lineup of shows with national acts such as The Matches and Emmure already booked, there are plans to build a studio in the space as well as hold seminars on the music business with guest speakers such as drummer Lez Warner, formerly of The Cult and Spinal Tap.

"We’re going to teach kids how to be rock and roll stars, how to do it responsibility, what to look out for, how to do it properly from people who’ve done it," Rader says.

Noting the challenges of sustaining an all-ages club in this city, Rader says that the goal of The Farm isn’t to compete with venues such as The Alley or The Box Office. Instead, he wants The Farm to be the tide to raise all ships in the choppy waters that form the Vegas music scene.

"I want people to stop thinking in terms of what’s available in the market right now, and start thinking in terms of what it is we’re doing and the level that we’re going to approach," Rader says. "We didn’t open this up to step on anybody’s toes. We’re here to enhance what’s in the market. We want to get the music scene back associated with the kids."

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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