History of The Turning Point
The Turning Point was started back in May of 1976 by John McAvoy and his sister Diane. The name of the club was in dispute between John who wanted to call it “The SoHo” and Diane who wanted “Sojourners Truth” (a real mouthful). Their mother intervened and suggested finding the name of a song or album as the name. Well the name was found on one of John’s favorite performer’s album “The Turning Point ” by John Mayall. The restaurant was created in a small room seating 36 people. After dinner, local musicians would come in to play and be paid by “passing the bottle”.
In 1978 Diane and John with the help of some friends, bought the building that houses the Turning Point today. Finally moving into the new location in September of 1981 “seven trees south of our old location” . Opening on the first floor only at this time, there were always plans to get the Cafe open (in the basement). Diane left the restaurant in 1979 finally settling in Austin, Tx.. In November of 1984 we presented Eric Anderson, the first of many concerts featuring nationally prominent musicians. The next to appear was Rambin’ Jack Elliott. Slowly more and more national acts came to the Turning Point. In August of 1985 we finally got the Cafe open. The opening night performer was a little known blues guitarist from Seattle named Robert Cray. It was a great night.
In May of 1987 we had an early morning fire in the kitchen. Nobody was hurt but it kept the Cafe closed for four weeks and the upstairs restaurant closed for eight weeks. The list reads of performers is long and impressive: Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, Dave Mason, Poco, Orleans, Bela Fleck, Bill Monroe, Joan Osborne, Christine Lavin, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Richie Havens, Janis Ian, Rick Danko just to name a few. Hopefully we will include the entire list soon. We have presented shows with over 47 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, I forgot JOHN MAYALL has performed here many a time.