Henry LoConti Sr. opened the first Agora on February 27, 1966 near the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. His concept of promoting live entertainment for young adults was an instant success, and audiences outgrew both the building and the neighborhood almost immediately.
The following year, a new Agora opened its doors adjacent to the Cleveland State University campus. Henry never imagined that the club would evolve into a major force in the international concert scene and become the premiere Ohio concert venue.
In the years that followed, the Agora (which at one point encompassed a chain of thirteen clubs nationwide), played a major role in developing the music and entertainment industry in Cleveland and the nation by booking thousands of local, national and international groups to perform on Agora stages. The concept of showcasing new and well-established artists confirmed the club's leadership within the industry.
The Agora booked its first national act, the Buckinghams, in 1968. For many years "Sundays at the Agora" showcased local original music groups and popular regional bands, which kept the club filled to capacity. The Pack, later known as Grand Funk Railroad, The Outlaws, ZZ Top, Rainbow Canyon , James Gang, Glass Harp, Foghat and The Rasberries all achieved national and international prominence after getting their "big break" playing the Cleveland Agora stage.