Date: September 17, 2003

The new 5,900-seat capacity Curb Event Center, on the campus of Belmont University, Nashville, is already gearing up for its first major event even though the official “ribbon cutting” just took place on Sept. 8.

The arena, part of a $52 million project which also includes the Curb Cafe, the Maddox Atrium, and the Beaman Student Life Center, will host a performance by Wynonna Judd, Kimberley Locke, and Selah, the latter composed of a trio of Belmont University graduates, on Oct. 20, as part of the gala opening event.

According to Bill Hobbs, communication spokesman, the next major concert is Simply Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill Nov. 28 and 29. Even with these events planned, however, management stresses that the mission of this not-for-profit facility centers around the students.

“Our mission here is to provide the best education we can for our students,” said Manager Jeff Hunter. “So, while we will have outside performances, we will also have opportunities for our students to perform and work. We have a lot of music here at Belmont. We also have event training and video departments, both of which will be using this facility. Who knows, we may have a TV program in there.”

Hunter expects to hold approximately 12 major events annually in the 209,000-square-foot venue that he said is attracting national interest from touring shows and other entertainment events. “Maybe, along the way, we might make some money,” Hunter said. “There are three shows we are holding dates for right now.”

The building will serve as home to the Belmont Bruins athletics and has already landed the Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball tournament, with the winner going to the NCAA playoffs, March 4, 5 and 6. It is a finalist in the competition to host one of the three presidential debates in 2004.

Hunter also hopes to host a variety of smaller events to lure the community into the building. He has the Chinese Dragon Acrobats scheduled for Nov. 7 with ticket prices ranging between $5 and $15. The venue has an in-the-round seating capacity of 5,900, but can downsize to 2,400 seats. Hunter wants to see corporate meeting events in the building, as well as speakers.”We also want to do things like have health checks here for the local community,” he said.

The complex's Curb Cafe is both a restaurant and entertainment venue, which can seat up to 200 at tables, chairs and booths. Hunter said he expects this facility to host a variety of local musical talent on the stage, as well as receptions and parties, and hopefully record label showcases. It will have regular operating hours. Hunter also anticipates hosting receptions, dinners and concerts in the Maddox Grand Atrium.

The Beaman Student Life Center offers a rock-climbing wall, a full-court basketball gymnasium, two indoor racquetball courts, dedicated aerobics room, weight rooms, and offices and meeting rooms for student organizations.

Hunter said he will be doing all the programming at the facility. His staff of five will promote and they also will do some co-promoting.

Interviewed for this story: Jeff Hunter, (615) 406-6003; Bill Hobbs, (615) 460-6646