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Saturday, 07 July 2012 00:00

Another One Bites The Dust

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They’re tearing down the Hyatt on Broad Street, so where a once mighty hotel stood will be an empty field. I know what you're saying, “ What does this have to do with weddings, music or djs?” Well it does. When the hotel was built in the 70’s it was the best hotel in the Richmond area and within it’s walls was the Lightfoot’s Lounge. Not the biggest but certainly the longest running next to Fanny’s at the Holiday Inn (now the Crowne Plaza). Oh, by the way how many remember the bubble dome on the side of the hotel.

During the Disco era you had to wait in lines to get in.  Richmond’s answer to Studio 54.  Lightfoot’s saw great bands like Leggs and Casper play and a number of DJs play in Lightfoot’s exclusive dj booth. Steve “The Beach” Leonard use to do beach music on Sunday nights to the sweet sounds of soul and Carolina shag. Lightfoot’s was a DJ’s delight as it was one of the few clubs that had a dj booth made just for the disc jockey to use.  It had a piece of granite which the dj turntable sat on to help isolate any vibrations from dancing on the floor.  There was the built in soundboard and controller to work the lights on the floor. A lot of thought went into that dj booth. Why is it important to me? It was my first commercial job as a dj.  I loved that little club.  Many a celebrity stayed there when in Richmond.  I ran into the Carter family and June Carter one Saturday night as I took a break from playing music.  If you ran into any celebrities at the Hyatt please comment below. 

The hotel had too many weddings and events to mention and Disc Jockey Services was fortunate to do one of the last wedding receptions in their big ballroom and one of the last events before it closed in the restaurant.  Ironically it was Tucker High School Class Reunion of 1966.  How many remember the group of people who did the annual Christmas dance under the name, ‘The Party Of The First Part.” That party has been going on for over 30 plus years and it was held for several years at the Hyatt sans Sheraton, sans Ramada Plaza.  You remember a place for the good memories that it holds for you.

Does this make the Hyatt a landmark, not if you compare it to the John Marshall, Jefferson or the William Byrd (now a retirement home) it doesn’t have the architecture or the long history of these hotels but it had it’s first as a high-end suburban hotel. It was the place to stay in it’s hey day. A place to go for Sunday brunch with fresh squeezed orange juice and the Sunday New York Times given to you. I shall miss its ballroom, its banquet rooms, the weddings and events I played there as I honed my skills as a disc jockey. I think it is sad whenever you see an old friend go.

 

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