General Manager |Merriweather Post Pavilion (I.M.P.)
For Jean Parker, general manager of the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, when it comes to operating an amphitheater, high temperatures are always a concern, but ticketing is a hot button.
Parker, who started her career at the Merriweather in 1977, said the most impactful business success this year was, “The killing of anti-consumer ticketing bills masquerading as consumer protection, which would have made scalping tickets here in Maryland easier at the expense of Maryland consumers.”
The Merriweather, which opened in 1967 and sits 30 miles outside of Washington D.C., is operated by I.M.P., which also operates the 9:30 Club, The Anthem, the historic Lincoln Theatre and The Atlantis (which opened this year). Based in the capital, I.M.P. is uniquely positioned to influence positive change.
“Success is credited to the support of our company including communications director Audrey Fix Schaefer and the banding of many other Maryland venues and promoters, typically competitors with one another, but for this effort working in tandem,” Parker said.
Other important topics include inclusivity — including Parker, four out of five I.M.P. venue general managers are female — and sustainability at Merriweather Post Pavilion, a concert oasis on 10 acres surrounded by a natural park.
“The trend is for venues to become more green. It is always great to have less of a carbon footprint,” Parker said. “Our goal is to get rid of plastic bottles. We have refilling stations, but are also looking into rolling out a reusable cup, stay tuned.”
Looking ahead, Parker said they are focused on new business development, especially in the music festival area and developing more seating options for corporate clients who are using the live music scene as a valuable networking opportunity.
In 2022, Merriweather Post Pavilion had a record year selling 443,000 tickets over 40 shows.
“In my opinion, this is our Roaring ’20s — history repeats itself, the Spanish pandemic in 1918 was followed by the Roaring ’20s and here we are 100 years later with many shows post-covid and an active ticket buyer audience base,” Parker said. — Wendy Pearl