Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Electric Factory. A versatile, exciting event venue.

The Electric Factory is the very first special event venue I ever experienced and also worked in. When I was ten years old my father, Joseph “Jerry” Spivak hired me to alphabetize the mailing list of the Factory. The pay was $1 per hour, they had about 40,000 names on small metallic plates, and I got half way through the letter “B” before I retired to focus on my 5th grade studies. 

A packed house at the Electric Factory

Larry Magid's New Book
The original Electric Factory was a converted tire warehouse at 22nd and Arch Streets in Philadelphia, it opened in 1968 and closed in 1971. The original opening group was my father, his two brothers Herb and Allen, Shelly Kaplan and Larry Magid. When the Factory closed they began using the name Electric Factory Concerts and took most of the business to bigger venues such as The Spectrum. Larry went on to become the face of the business and with Allen running the business side they made EFC one of the most successful music promoters in the country. My father and uncle Herb went on to focus on their growing restaurant chain, HA Winston & Company. There have been some great articles about the history of the Electric Factory and EFC written recently by most of the major publications in Philadelphia. These articles were prompted by the release of Larry Magid’s excellent coffee table book “My Soul’s Been Psychedelicized”. Here are a few links to some of the articles as well as one written in the Philadelphia Weekly a few years back that focuses more on the Spivak's history of the business.

Kashmir Event for PCMA Convention, January 2006

There was no concert venue called the Electric Factory from 1971 to 1995 when Larry, Allen and Adam Spivak (Allen's son) opened a new space at 7th & Willow in Philly and recreated the Electric Factory. A converted industrial space it instantly became a major concert venue.

Max & Me Catering started doing backstage concert catering for EFC in 1997 and when I joined the team in 2000 we were doing most of this unique form of catering for them in shows that took place in the Philadelphia area. When the venue was booked for two shows during the Republican National Convention in Summer 2000 featuring Lynyrd Skynrd and Blues Traveler, the event planner was referred to us for catering. This began my history with doing special events at The Factory. We did many events between 2000 and 2006 when Max & Me Catering morphed into it's current ownership situation.
Another groovy event at The Factory
Blues Traveler

Here are some of my favorite events that we did at the Electric Factory, and a few other caterers did.
Blues Traveler and Lynyrd Skynrd 1500 guests each night, RNC 2000
ISES Showcase, 400 guests, 2001
Pharma Event, American Psychiatric Convention, 2500 guests, 2002
Larry Magid's Rock & Roll Charity Auction, 500 guests, multiple years
Starwood Hotels Kashmir Event, PCMA Convention, 700 guests, 2006
Alexandra Spivak's Bat Mitzvah, 150 guests, 2007
EFC's 40th Anniversary Party, 1000 guests, 2008
Jen & Chase Utley's All-Star Animals, 600 guests, 2010, 2011
Jen & Chase Utley's All Star Animals Event at the Factory
As you see, the Factory has hosted a wide range of corporate, social and charitable events and there are many different ways to utilize the spaces that comprise the venue. Total capacity for a cocktail style party is 2500 and by tenting the large parking lot you could do an event for up to 5000. An obvious advantage of using the Factory for your event would be the great set up of staging, lights and sound that are already in the venue and are packaged into facility rental pricing at a cost far below what it would be to rent anything close to the quality and capabilities that you get here. They also have some of the best production staff in the business to help with your event. Another great feature is their bar service, large well stocked bars and fast professional bartenders make for ease in service for your guests.

Belly up, if you book an event with us, next round is on me!
We will be scheduling a promotional party at the Factory in early October to introduce/reintroduce event planners and others in the industry to the venue. Featured at this event will be the preferred catering companies that will be serving some of their best offerings. If you would like to attend you can email me, harryspivak@gmail.com, and if you are a qualified event planner I will make sure you are invited. Also if you are interested in seeing the venue or inquiring about booking the Factory for an event please email or call me on my cell: 610.955.8001.

This is my first site inspection for my blog and the first time I have had writer's block in posting. That's one of the reasons it took so long to get this done. Look for many more of these site reviews in the future, let me know if this is useful for you, I hope so.

Let's close with a quiz. First one to answer all three questions correct, in the comment section below, will win a copy of Larry Magid's book "My Soul's Been Psychedelicized, Electric Factory" a $40 value!

1. What famous Philadelphian was with me when I met Janis Joplin and got her autograph in 1969?
2. What band opened the original Electric Factory in February 1968?
3. What concert promoter teamed with Larry Magid and Allen Spivak to produce Live Aid in Philly 1985?

Thanks for reading,
Harry 7/26/12


  1. 1. Frank Rizzo
    2.The Chambers Brothers
    3. Bill Graham

  2. Kimberly...
    1. Kevin Bacon
    2. Chambers Bros
    3. Geldolf

  3. Kevin Bacon
    The Chambers Brothers
    Bill Graham

  4. How fitting. The last time I did some type of contest (an auction) involving Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Angelo won. Jen, you did it again! Congratulations. Bob Geldolf was not really considered a promoter, but Bill Graham was the most well known concert promoter ever and a true force of nature.