Route 20 Outhouse took over its current location March 1, 2012 with the goal of remodeling the “old biker bar” into a new music venue and restaurant. They took the shell of the building and added a second floor mezzanine, new bar addition and the most important part, a brand new stage.
Owner Ray Stibeck and his friend Steve Hawkins started the design with the thought that they wanted to attract national touring acts to the new Route 20 Outhouse. To them that meant it had to sound amazing and provide an up close and in your face layout.
“The focus was always how can we make this place sound so good on stage that the bands would want to play longer and amazing out front so the fans would feel every nuance of the performance” said Steve Hawkins who is Route 20’s Entertainment Manager and FOH Engineer.
They put a lot of thought into the acoustics of the room and with Steve’s background in Audio Recording and Ray’s background as a Contractor the two were able to develop a room where you can hear a pin drop or have your face melted all in the same show.
On the advice of friend and fellow Sound Guy Bob Vallone Route 20 went with a JBL VRX line array for the mains and QSC K12’s for monitors. “Space is definitely at a premium here and we’re not shy about using every bit of it, but because of those limitations the powered JBL’s and OSC’s were the only way to go to avoid needing a Amp room,” said Steve.
“The JBL’s really do a nice job in this room and with all the wood construction we need very little EQ. A lot of the touring engineers have commented that right out of the gate the room sounds really nice even when empty during sound checks” said SteveShortly after starting live music in July of 2012 they set out to bring acts into the area that would grab the attention of the community. Some of the first acts they brought in were The Trews, The Marshall Tucker Band and Comedian Ralphie May.
They never wanted to go after a specific Genre so they try to go after a broad spectrum of the talent that is out there. “Ray and I both have a healthy bit of A.D.D. so if we stuck to one format we would probably go insane” said Steve.
Just about a year after beginning their Live Entertainment journey Route 20 hooked up with 95.1 WIIL and FM Entertainment and that’s when things really started to take off. With radio support and access to tour routing Route 20 has quickly become a go to stop for Artists out on the road.
Route 20’s location is big advantage as well. They are 1 block West of Interstate 94 on Highway 20 in Sturtevant, WI. Located just off of the I94 exit (Exit 333) are also 3 Hotels, three 24hr Truck Stops and an RV super store for any Tour Bus needs.
Lets not forget the handy staff at Route 20. Just last year a band limped in with a broken trailer and Ray and Bar Manager Randy had it ripped apart, welded and back in action before sound check. “We’ve actually had to fix a couple trailers and a Bus door so far and we are happy to be able to help” said Owner Ray Stibeck.
“Problem solving with a positive attitude is the name of the game and I try to instill that in all the staff here at Route 20. We are regularly complimented on how helpful and pleasant the staff is here at Route 20 and that makes me feel good about what we are doing here and hopefully sets us apart from other places. We want everyone to feel that they are among friends,” said Ray.
Recently Route 20 started moving shows outside and put on a show in their backyard this past Aug 29th with Theory of a Deadman. They are now working on multiple outdoor shows for the Summer and Fall that will be announced soon.
Some of the recent acts that have played Route 20 are Misfits, Fuel, Drowning Pool, Red, 10 Years, Otherwise, Suzy Bogguss, Mason Jennings, Thousand Foot Krutch, Trapt, Steep Canyon Rangers, Gemini Syndrome, Spacehog, Rival Sons, Royal Bliss, Turnpike Troubadours and Marc Cohn.
Route 20 Outhouse is located at 14001 Washington Ave in Sturtevant, WI. You can check out all of their upcoming shows at www.route20outhouse.com