Author: Chad Swiatecki

Deep South: Rock Solid

RETURN OF THE PARROTHEADS: Jimmy Buffett plays Simmons Bank Arena in 2012. His June show at the venue was one of the highlights of a busy 2019. (Nelson Chenault) Arkansas’ Simmons Bank Arena has a new naming-rights deal and a successful 2019 to build on Simmons Bank Arena opened in North Little Rock, Ark., in 1999, and the building and its veteran staff have seen changes over the years: naming rights sponsors, sports tenants that have come and gone, improvements to make the experience of attending more special for its patrons. There have been plenty of big moments and big shows, like the George Strait concert back in 2006 that drew a building-record 18,000 people. But like venues around the world, it’s never seen anything like what’s going on now, as COVID-19 keeps the doors closed and live sports and entertainment stands at a halt. Michael Marion, general manager of the […]

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Small clubs band together to find a path to survival

The organizers of the U.S. version of Independent Venue Week have shifted their direction to helping dozens of small clubs and music venues across the country with figuring out how to ride out widespread closures caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. New York-based Marauder Group held the first of a planned series of teleconference panels and discussions to give owners and operators around the country the opportunity to discuss the challenges they face from either outright closures of bars and restaurants or strict limits on the size of gatherings. Among the discussion topics: finding alternative business models with most performances canceled or indefinitely postponed, how to plan for a return to normal business at a still-unknown time, possible state and federal assistance programs to help with cash flow issues, and options for providing pay to employees and performers while no revenue is coming in. “If that achieved nothing […]

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Austin Clubs Unite After SXSW Cancellation

READY TO ROLL: Empire is among the venues participating in the push to salvage SXSW-related business. (Brittany NO FOMO) Effort combines previously scheduled showcases, new bookings Music venues in Austin have pitched in together after the cancellation of this year’s South By Southwest festival, rescheduling showcases and adding new bookings to recoup money that will be lost during the city’s busiest 10 days of the year. On Wednesday roughly two dozen of the city’s venues and promotion companies announced the “We Can Do Magic!” collective marketing effort to encourage the city’s residents and visitors to attend concerts booked March 16-22, which would have been the heart of the music portion of SXSW. The festival was canceled March 6 when city and county health officials declared a state or emergency related to the possible introduction and spread of the new coronavirus by some of the thousands of attendees who flock to […]

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