Want Bigger Shows In Amarillo? Pay For A New Building.
One of the questions I'm asked the most is, "Why don't we get as many concerts, as we use to?" There are several reasons, but they come down to one thing-Amarillo needs a newer and bigger facility.
Amarillo's Civic Center Complex's coliseum opened in 1969 with Glen Campbell as the headlining act. Since then, everyone from Elvis to Motley Crue, have performed in within those walls. In the 70s and 80s, it seemed Amarillo was concert central. Being on I-40, we caught a lot of "pick-up" dates, as artists between Amarillo and Albuquerque
1.Lubbock opened a 15,000 seat arena in 1999 that holds 8,000 more people than our coliseum does. Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Elton John have performed there because it's big enough to hold their shows.
2. The outbreak of casinos who are willing to pay more for entertainers, are getting many of the arena shows, that use to come here. Since Texas doesn't want casinos, we can expect to lose more shows to New Mexico and Oklahoma.
3. Production in shows have literally outgrown Amarillo's coliseum. Our roof is not tall enough and our load-in facility can't do more than a semi or two, at a time.
4. Ticket prices will have to go up. In 2003, Crosby, Stills, & Nash played to an Amarillo crowd, that didn't sell out. Some complained that $60 tickets were too expensive. If we want to see Metallica or Garth Brooks come back to town, we're going to have to pay more. The days of $10 tickets, are long gone.
Amarillo residents will have a chance to be part of the decision process, on where we go from here. The Amarillo City Council is schedule to vote whether or not, to do a study on the Civic Center's needs. If approved, the study could address renovations of the current facility or building a new arena.
Besides concerts, the facility is home to rodeos, conventions, and sporting events. The WRCA association has hinted, they would move their rodeo to another city, if Amarillo doesn't update our current plant.
I have a special affection for the Civic Center's auditorium. It's been perfect for shows to large for the Performing Arts Center, but too small for the coliseum.
As for the coliseum itself, I've seen everyone from Seals & Crofts to Selena in there, but it needs expansion and updated.
Are Amarillo residents willing to pay for a new arena? Are we willing to pay higher ticket prices? Those are two of the questions, that need to be answered.
The city council's vote is scheduled to take place at their next meeting, Tuesday afternoon at 1:00.