As a concert promoter through the years in Greenwood, I must say we have a very adequate facility in the Leflore County Civic Center. It can seat close to 2,800 people for a concert event in a pleasant heated or cooled atmosphere.
Most popular groups that I have worked with require a minimum seating capacity of 1,000 to 1,400. If that requirement is not in place, our own worship center is more then adequate with ample lighting and sound.
The staff and leadership of the Leflore County Civic Center have always been helpful, and the location between Memphis and Jackson can be appealing to major artists. What could be useful for concert promoters, though, is an upgraded sound and lighting system.
Most every firm I have dealt with requires a minimum stage size, lighting requirements and amplification and sound minimums. Stage size is perfect, but our facility does not meet the sound and lighting standards. When we have contracted groups such as The News Boys (2,300 in attendance), Casting Crowns (1,400 in attendance) along with Amy Grant and others, in most situations we have had to rent sound and lighting from out-of-town vendors. It’s very common to have to spend between $6,000 and $8,000 for this. Knowing you have to spend that kind of money on the front end becomes a real deterrent to even starting a conversation with a potential guest.
Obviously when our church does seek to bring quality Christian entertainment to the area, it is going to be family-friendly and an alcohol-free environment. Apart from some generous donors in our church to help guarantee the cost of a contract, I could never sign an $18,000 to $22,000 contract with a group (PLUS sound and lighting).
If there are local funds available to help bring groups and entertainment to Greenwood, why not invest it in a permanent fashion in our own facility to benefit the entire community in the long run?
That being said, one of the most popular pop and Christian artists in the country, Ellie Holcomb, will be in concert Friday night, April 12 in our church worship center. She will be accompanied by Grammy-winning Christian recording artist Bruce Carroll. Tickets are $20, and our seating capacity is 500. The contracts for this night that we had to guarantee are $8,000, so it’s obvious we’re seeking to break even to keep bringing such wonderful guests to our community. Knowing we did not have to add sound and lighting to our expenses allowed us to invest in a great night of music for Greenwood.