Concert Goers Eye Ford Center's Concert Selection

By Kayla Moody

Published 08/12 2014 09:53PM

Updated 08/12 2014 10:19PM

If you build it, they will come. Such was said about Evansville's Ford Center and over the past couple years it's been right on cue -- playing host to hockey, basketball, and concerts.

Ford Center's half year report shows the arena's revenue is down 2.5 percent, something attributed to the Icemen and Purple Aces falling short of the playoffs and less spending on concessions and merchandise. The report has some concert junkies suggesting the arena needs to diversify the genres of performances it attracts.

"It's a personal venue. That's one thing I like about it. Some people say it's too small but for certain acts it's a good, personal venue," said Dan Felstead, an Evansville resident who has been to several concerts at the arena. "I would like to see more of my age group, some of the earlier rock. I enjoyed the Brent Floyd concert that was down here more than the country music."

Some complain the arena brings in too much country. VenuWorks Executive Director Scott Schoenike says attracting new genres isn't as simple as it may seem. They're in an uphill battle with statistics -- and the numbers don't lie.

"We do a lot of country, but on the other hand country always sells the most and that's actually what draws more country music," said Schoenike. "For other genres other than country we're always on the bottom third of the tour. So when you're a promoter, you're looking to say I want my sales on the top third of the tour."

In a way, concerts are a victim of their own success or failure. He says promoters keep a close eye on trends when deciding where their performers will play.

"You can't just wait for the biggest show ... going to more shows actually brings more shows," said Schoenike. "You know if we all the sudden out sale the normal for Judas Priest tickets that's actually gonna bring more shows like that to this market. That's what the promoters are looking for."

VenuWorks reports Judas Priest tickets are steady and doing well, but not as well as other cities on the tour. For now, Evansville remains a "country market" but ticket holders possess a certain level of power in influencing the market trend, suggesting courting new acts might not be outside the realm of possibility.

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