Wheels begin to turn at civic center - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Wheels begin to turn at civic center

March 21, 2006

Albany -- The Albany Civic Center announces a medley of upcoming concerts. The venue is bringing in Oscar winning rappers, 80's funk favorites and even a former American Idol contestant. The Albany Civic Center is pulling out all the stops and fees to get events into the venue.

"We're offering the building as part of an incentive to get people in. As promoters are successful, we're hoping they will come back," said Tony Ford of the Albany Civic Center.

And negotiating better deals with promoters is working. Tuesday morning, Programming Director Tony Ford announced a list of upcoming events including a concert by 1980's funk favorites "Midnight Star."

"They have several number one songs, that made it all the way to the charts. They're known nationally and internationally. There are one of the groups that people love to see and love to hear in night clubs," said Promoter Ben Jordan.

Promoter Ben Jordan says the April 21st concert will also feature Devin Johnson, a former American Idol finalist, as well as performers Secret Dimension and Calvin Payne.

Jordan says if there's a good crowd, he'll bring more of his acts here. "We're already planning for a second group already, another performance in June or maybe July."

"Midnight Star" is the latest in a string of performers coming to the once under-utilized civic center. Country music legend George Jones is performing March 30th.

And Hip Hop performers, "Juvenile", Oscar award winning "Three 6 Mafia", along with a line-up of other rappers, are putting on a concert March 31st.

On Memorial Day weekend, Clarence Carter will join a team of performers for Grown Folks Night Out.

The promoters, too, are offering deals to lure customers, like this one for George Jones. "He is prepared for two days only, this Friday and Saturday, to give a two for one deal. I didn't say free, I said a two for one ticket sale," said Ford.

Ford says the City is giving promoters good deals and big price cuts to bring in entertainers. He hopes they'll be happy with new management and new attitudes at the venue and bring more business this way.

"When they come back, that gives us an opportunity to make some money off of more than just popcorn and sodas. We'll get something off of the gate receipts," said Ford. 

That will hopefully mean money flowing into the Civic Center from somewhere other than the city coffers.

An outdoor carnival and a comedy act are also coming this summer. For families, Disney on Ice "Princess Classics" is coming April 18th and 19th.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=CivicAttractions/Murchison

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