In January 2024, Brian and Day Crowne will celebrate 20 years of ownership of the iconic George’s Majestic Lounge in downtown Fayetteville. They’ll enter the anniversary year with a national momentum boost.
In November, George’s was named one of five winners in “Hometowns of Consequence” a fan-driven contest to find America’s favorite local music venues. Consequence (formerly Consequence of Sound), a national online music, television and movie publication, organized the competition to “celebrate the local venues, gathering places, and institutions across the country that give live music its home.”
Consequence asked fans to nominate their favorite local music venues and narrowed more than 1,300 entries down to four finalists in five regions — Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West.
Another round of voting identified the inaugural contest’s winners George’s was voted the best in the Southeast, ranking ahead of 9:30 Club from Washington, D.C.; Portal at Fifteentwelve from Louisville, Ky.; and The Radio Room from Greenville, S.C.
Other regional winners were:
- Rockwood Music Hall; New York
- First Avenue and 7th Street Entry; Minneapolis
- Cain’s Ballroom; Tulsa
- Troubador; Los Angeles
Brian Crowne said being on the receiving end of fan recognition is particularly humbling. He credited the artists who appear at George’s and the fans who support them for the venue’s success.
“George’s Majestic Lounge is a beneficiary of the love that happens between an artist and fan since we get to be the house that joins them in real time,” he said. “Thank you to our team and past teams over 95 years that have kept the vibe and spirit alive that makes George’s part of our music community.”
Consequence asked each of the regional finalists to participate in a Q&A about their venues to highlight their histories and favorite memories. George Pappas opened the business on Dickson Street in 1927 as a bar, restaurant and general store. Ownership changed hands twice before the Crownes took over 20 years ago when it became a full-time music venue. It has a capacity of 700 patrons.
Brian Crowne spent 20 years as a touring musician. He played saxophone and guitar in various local bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He told the magazine that his first time playing George’s in late 1989 still resonates like it was yesterday.
“It is such a diverse group gathering with a love of live music,” he said. “Hosting Robert Cray in a major storm — when we still had a retractable roof with hail somewhat coming in the room — and he never quit playing was wild. We’ve been so blessed to host hundreds of incredible artists and events over the past 19 years of our ownership, and that in itself is one huge collective memory.”
Crowne, also the vice president of the Walmart AMP in Rogers, told Consequence that the fact that George’s has had only four owners in nearly 100 years shows a love of the community and the institution.
“I think all the owners were committed to being part of the community from a watering hole to hosting live music and all types of community events helps,” he said.
Day Crowne told Consequence that most people are surprised that she and her husband send and receive 98% of the communication coming to and from George’s.
“As with most places, people leave or lose their belongings,” she explained. “So we have communication from people looking for their phones, keys, jackets, umbrellas and glasses, so much so that I made a sticker that people get when they retrieve their stuff shaped like a trophy that says, ‘I left my s*** at George’s.’ People get such a laugh when they get one.”