Toyota Music Factory

Toyota Music Factory

Photo Credit: Eddarix

Ayden Kowalski, Writer

With a population of over 230,000, Irving, Texas is a surprisingly beautiful sister city to Dallas, which itself is on the verge of becoming one of America’s key cities.  Both are keeping up with their growth commercially by continuing to excel artistically, with the Dallas Theatre Center winning the Regional Theater Tony Award in 2017, which itself is based in the largest arts district in America. As for Irving, its sights are set on the current music economy with a 200 million-dollar complex that the city hopes will turn it into a tourist destination: the Toyota Music Factory.

Between Highway 114 and West Las Colinas Boulevard, the Music Factory is designed to allow one to eat dinner and dance the night away at a concert in one of two arenas.  The smaller of the two, the Texas Lottery Plaza, is located at the center of the Factory, directly next to the restaurants. This open-air venue is designed for more casual performances, with a smaller stage and more underground acts.  While there, one might also want to get some food, which is where the varied restaurants and bars come in. There’s Brazilian steak, Japanese cuisine, pizza, and even The Country’s Best Yogurt™. There’s also the Bar Louie with a Friday night DJ set, so if you’ve been wanting to hear someone play Cardi B for more than ten seconds, you can finally fulfill your dreams at the Toyota Music Factory.

The second entertainment space in the Factory is the multi-purpose Pavilion, which entertainment company Live Nation has exclusive booking rights to.  This means that even if there is an amazing act that could fill the 8,000-seat amphitheater, if he or she is not in a deal with Live Nation, then that act cannot perform there.  In an ideal world, this would not be the case, but it is better than no Pavilion at all. Anyway, this space has three modes: the previously mentioned amphitheater, the 4,000-seat indoor theater, and a 2,500-seat “intimate theater”.  As for the acts there, Live Nation provides a multitude of noteworthy and exciting performers, including Ms. Lauryn Hill, 5 Seconds of Summer, and hip-hop collective 88Rising. The space isn’t just for music, either: comedian Brian Regan will be doing a show in the Pavilion this December, and a comedy troupe from TruTV will appear there in March of 2018.  Overall, the Pavilion is a great mid-size venue for decently-known acts who haven’t yet reached arena capacity. The only downside is that only Live Nation acts can perform here, which stifles the artistic lineup of the Factory.

Overall, the Toyota Music Factory is a great addition to the Dallas and Irving communities.  It provides a clear outlet for big acts who can’t yet take the American Airlines Center while also packaging it along with a cultural experience through its various diners.  It gives both cities a musical heartbeat that hopefully will become central to the community as Irving and particularly Dallas begin to emerge as important cities in both Texas and the whole nation.  It also helps its sponsors, with Live Nation getting a performance center in an emerging powerhouse county and Toyota, which recently moved its American headquarters to Plano, to become important in the community where it now resides.  Is it perfect? Of course not. But does it provide a new kind of musical experience to a community that has reached a point where purposeful culture is the most important addition? Indeed, it does. And it also might let me actually hear Cardi B at a party, so no matter what, it does good.