Jeffrey Springut is a music promoter whose name is synonymous with his music club, the legendary Red Creek Inn in Henrietta, which he ran for three decades from 1970 to 1997.
Critic Jack Garner said it was the intimacy and the “first-class live music” that was so appealing about the club, which later was called just The Creek. It was known wide and far for original eclectic music, with acts taking the stage like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, James Brown, David Crosby, Roomful of Blues, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa stopped by when they were intown, as did comedians like Denis Leary and Chris Rock, plus Jay Leno, who talked about Red Creek during a “Tonight Show” monologue.
“That’s what made The Creek ‘The Creek,’” Springut said. “It was personal and we all had mutual respect for each other, from the musicians to the staff to the audience and patrons.”
A lifelong Rochester resident, Springut had been promoting concerts and festivals in Martha’s Vineyard and wanted to do the same in his hometown. At just 20-years-old, he started with reel-to-reel compilation recordings of “the best music of the day” and then segued to live music. But he wanted original music, not Top 40 cover bands. The first act Springut booked was a band named Joshua, a forerunner to Duke Jupiter, which was inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame in 2014. “They jammed the place,” Springut said. “That started the live music scene that became our legacy.”
Newspaper articles talk of the “eternally festive atmosphere” of Red Creek. There are also stories that have become legend, like the Marshall Tucker Band refusing to play because the stage was too small (but they came back a year later), and U2 never taking the stage because Springut wouldn’t kick out two of his regulars so band management could conduct a private sound check.
Today Springut continues to take pride in booking recognizable name attractions and also giving exposure to up-and-comers who are going to be the next name attractions — with his keen eye and ear for music a big part of why Springut is celebrated and respected. He currently runs the Springut Group, which brings his decades of music and event experience to the festivals he operates, including the Lilac Festival, Park Avenue Festival, Party in the Park, and Midtown Eats, plus concerts at Highland Bowl and Kodak Center. That roster of events translates to a summer lineup that requires Springut to book 20 headliners plus more than 50 opening bands.
“But it’s never been about me, it’s about the music,” Springut said, noting that he still gets excited discovering new bands. “We always thought if we’re not having fun, why bother?”
Performance at the ceremony to honor Jeffrey Springut: Announcement coming soon regarding the performers for this tribute during the ceremony.