Failed concerts won't keep Albany Civic Center down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Failed concerts won't keep Albany Civic Center down

April 3, 2006

Albany--Can the Albany Civic Center put on a successful major concert? Managers say one bad weekend won't keep them from trying.

Only a few hundred people showed up for a hip hop concert Friday and country legend George Jones cancelled his Sunday concert because he's sick.

We talked to promotions manager Tony Ford who says he's been very busy talking with promoters about bringing more big concert acts to the city.

While Ford is optimistic that sell out concerts are just on the horizon here in Albany, one promoter we talked isn't so sure.

Even well known hip hop acts weren't enough to bring out the crowds at the Albany Civic Center Friday night.

"The Civic Center is in trouble," says record store owner and promoter, Gilbert Udoto. He says the Civic Center just doesn't appeal to many promoters.

"Why come over here with an arena that sits 12,000 when you can come to an arena that sits 20,000," he says.

"I'm baffled because it had wonderful headliners and it certainly had the word was out," says promotions manager, Tony Ford.

He says Friday's concert flop was a surprise, since past events have been successful simply because of walk up crowds.

"Bull riding was wonderful because of the walk up crowd, monster trucks was wonderful because of the walk up crowds," says Ford.

But this time, last minute ticket buyers weren't there. And Ford says not pushing the sales of advance tickets cost them.

"We're very poor at that. We don't seem to come out until it's time for the show,"says Ford.

But Gilbert says Albany just isn't a market that appeals to many big named promoters.

"They look at the statistics, in the last six years, no show has done anything, every promoter has been losing money," he says.

Ford disagrees. He says George Jones fans purchased many tickets for the country legend's concert.

"We had a couple of thousand tickets sold, it was going to go quite nicely," says Ford.

And isn't discouraged by this weekend's failed concert attempts.

"I'm absolutely encouraged. Phone calls from other promoters have encouraged me," he says.

And the Center is working harder than ever to bring in more big named acts to the center.

"We don't wait on the phone to ring, we get on the phone and start calling," says Ford.

The past several months, the Civic Center has been hosted several events and Ford says it has no plans to slow down.

"We're not stopping, we're continuing," he says.

As for Gilbert, he admires the Center's dedication to beat the odds working against it to do just that.

The Civic Center has a couple of concerts lined up in the upcoming months. The Grown Folks Nightout tour starring Clarence Carter, Lenny Williams, and David Hutson takes the stage on May 28th.

Eighties funk band Midnight Star will play at the Civic Center on April 12.

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