By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – One of the top music venues in St. Louis will be going smoke-free six months early.
Joe Edwards, the owner of the Pageant, announced Monday that all shows at the theater on Delmar Blvd. will be smoke-free starting July 1st. Smoking bans in the city and county take effect January 2, 2011.
Edwards, who owns businesses in both the city and county and supported both bans, said he sees no downside to going smoke-free earlier than required. His Moonrise hotel and Eclipse restaurant have been smoke-free since he opened them last year.
"And it doesn't bother people" to step outside and smoke, he said. "In fact a lot of people are absolutely delighted and enjoy not having the odor in their clothes and hair."
About 80 percent of the bands who play the Pageant are requesting a smoke-free venue, Edwards said, and the earlier implementation will allow for an earlier celebration of the Pageant's 10th anniversary.
"We like to upgrade things, and among those upgrades will be some new electronic equipment as well as a new stage curtain, and we can move it up to now and go ahead and install those next month," he said.
Smoking will be allowed at the Halo Bar until the ban takes effect January 2, Edwards said. He is considering making all shows at Blueberry Hill, his other concert venue, smoke-free before that date.