Just the ticket
For Donna Drews, it's been a good news-bad news couple of weeks.
First the bad news: Gov. Tim Pawlenty cut funding for a major enlargement of Mayo Civic Center, which Drews manages, from the state's 2010 bonding bill.
Now the good news: Defying a business-wide trend, Mayo Civic Center is attracting several major concerts this spring.
"I have been amazed at the interest from promoters lately," Drews said.
The recent spate of concert announcements offers something for nearly everyone: comedy, folk music, hard rock, alternative rock and Tex-Mex. It's a nearly ideal setup for the civic center, in that few fans will be interested in seeing all of the concerts, yet every act announced so far has enough of an audience to suggest ticket sales will be healthy. The opportunity exists to reach a wide, diverse audience.
It's an opportunity performance hall managers in other same-size markets would love to be contemplating. At La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis., the only concert on the schedule is a comedy show by Ron White. The only concert currently scheduled at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato is a country show headlined by Miranda Lambert.
"A lot of it has to do with contacting people and letting them know Rochester is a viable market, and that the economy is better here than in other places," Drews said.
Promoters have responded. Jade Presents, from Fargo, N.D., is bringing in two shows, and Sue McLean & Associates, from the Twin Cities, is bringing in two shows.
"I think reaching out to these people has helped," Drews said.
Overall, the touring concert business is in a slump. "It isn't strong anywhere," Drews said. "A lot of the bands have a base fee, and they're finding they're not getting even close to that, so they're deciding not go to out on tour."
The latest concert to be announced at Mayo Civic Center is a show by Korn May 20. "That's a great concert for this market," Drews said.
A closer look at concerts coming up at Mayo Civic Center:
• Indigo Girls, 7:30 p.m. April 20, billed as an acoustic duo performance by Emily Saliers and Amy Ray. Tickets: $30.50, $25.50.
• Suzanne Vega, 7:30 p.m. April 22; a Riverside Live! concert by a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. Tickets: $20 and $14.50 for general, $19 and $13.75 for senior citizens.
• Brian Regan, 7 p.m. April 25, a comedy show by the popular Comedy Central star. Tickets: $39.50.
• Los Lonely Boys, 7:30 p.m. April 29. The Grammy-winning single "Heaven" brought these Latin-flavored roots rockers to mainstream attention. Tickets: $29.50, $24.50.
• The Gruesome Twosome: Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper, 7:45 p.m. May 11. Two of the more venerable ghoul-rockers on the same stage. Tickets: $39.50 (both reserved seating and general admission standing on the main floor).
• Korn, with 2 Cents, Stillwell and Big Jay Oakerson, 7:30 p.m. May 20. The rejuvenated heavy metal meisters are back. Tickets: $39.50 (reserved seats and general admission standing on the main floor), go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.