Tag Archives: Populous

SEVT “Conference Like No Other” Opens at Township Auditorium

18 Nov

From left Dennis Scanlon with eTix, Tammy Koolbeck with VenuWorks and SEVT lifetime achievement award winner Mike McGee pose for a photo at SEVT in Columbia, S.C.

REPORTING FROM COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Sport, Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow officially kicked off this evening with a reception at the newly renovated Township Auditorium.

The Sport, Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow conference is hosted in conjunction with the University of South Carolina’s Department of Sport & Entertainment Management and Venues Today magazine.

Panels at the three-day conference begin Thursday morning with an opening keynote address from Russ Simons, senior principal at Populous. Over two days, the conference will tackle a number of important issues in the live entertainment industry. On Friday at 9 a.m., Venues Today Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Linda Deckard, will lead the panel “Success Stories: Women of Influence Reveal Their Secrets.” The panel features 2010 Venues Today Women of Influence Award Winners Tammy Koolbeck of VenuWorks, Liza Cartmell of Aramark and Christy Castillo-Butcher from Staples Center and the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live.

This is the third year Venues Today has co-produced SEVT and it continues to grow in numbers and relevance. “It is a conference like no other, with the mix of students, professors and professionals,” said Deckard. “On the ride in from the airport last night, I talked to the newest intern for Bob Skoney at Nashville Municipal Auditorium who is just embarking on her career, and today have caught up with such industry veterans as Bob Scanlon, eTix; Donna Dowless, XOXO Media, and Mich Sauers, Global Spectrum, all of whom commented on the chance to interact with tomorrow’s venue managers.”

“We have lots to learn from each other and a future to fashion and this is a great place to start,” she declared. “It’s a place to give back, of course, but it’s also a place to learn so much that is new and trendy. The next two days should prove most enlightening.”

To learn more about SEVT, visit www.sevt.org. — Dave Brooks


San Jose Team Chosen

24 Oct

Hunt Construction Group/Populous have been selected for the renovation and expansion of the San Jose (Calif.) McEnery Convention Center. The convention center, which opened in 1989, will undergo more than $100 million in renovation and addition work funded through an endorsement by local hotels agreeing to tax themselves in support of the project. The proposed addition will bring the convention center to more than 1.3 million square feet.
Contact: Gina Stingley, (816) 329 4409

Populous Moves to the West Coast

26 Sep

Deal: Populous and Dan Meis Architects

Date: Sept. 22

Comments: Architecture giant Populous is opening a West Coast office and has hired Dan Meis to helm the operation.

While with firm NBBJ, Meis designed the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and his practice, Meis Architects, is responsible for designing a yet-to-be-built $600 million stadium in Eastern Los Angeles that could potentially serve as the home of a relocated NFL franchise (or two).

He brings that project to Populous, where he joins the firm as senior principal, along with a soccer stadium in Doha, Qatar, that will be built in hopes of luring the World Cup in 2022.

“I’ve competed with HOK (the company’s former name) for a long time and I was really intrigued by its repositioning” 18 months ago, he said. “They understand that it’s really about creating places where people want to be and focusing on environments that people want to visit. It puts a new meaning on what it means to be a designer of these facilities.”

He plans to open the L.A. office in either Santa Monica or Venice Beach, and retain his practice’s “funky, West Coast vibe” with surfboards on the wall and the occasional dog hanging out in the office.

Even with Twister, Montana Fair is a Hard-to-Resister

13 Sep

This youngster enjoys corn-on-the-cob at the MontanaFair, Billings.

MetraPark officials in Billings, Mont., had their work cut out for them when the 10,000-seat Rimrock Auto Arena was gutted by a tornado less than eight weeks before the start of the annual MontanaFair, which took place Aug. 13-21.

A tornado ripped through Billings on June 20, Father’s Day, and hovered over and swirled inside the Rimrock Auto Arena for at least 12 minutes.

“The grandstand is in perfect order, but it spent 12 minutes scouring the inside of the arena,” said Sandra Hawke, marketing director for MetraPark. “It just broke through the roof and sat there for 12 minutes.”

The bones of the building remain intact and most of the soft seats are salvageable, but the roof was ripped out and other damage was done to the interior.

“Not a soul” was on the grounds June 20 and no one was hurt, although people nearby had video cameras and images of the tornado ripping off the arena’s roof can be viewed on YouTube.

The community rallied to help pick up the debris and 1,500 volunteers showed up instead of the requested 500.

“Once we came out and said, ‘We are not canceling the fair, we’re going to move ahead,’ the community gave us kudos for that quick and definite response,” Hawke said.

The community also showed support by attending the fair at almost the same rate as the year before, with the final number ending up at 232,657 compared to last year’s 233,015.

The loss of the use of the arena for the fair meant finding a place to hold the event’s three large opening weekend concerts, so Hawke contacted Tim Kohlmeyer of Theatrical Media Services in Omaha, Neb., who set MetraPark up with an outdoor stage on the track of the grandstand. Insurance covered most of the cost of the outdoor staging.

Jason Aldean opened the fair Aug. 13 with tickets costing $45, $35 and $25; the Scorpions played Aug. 14, $45, $35 and $25; followed up by Hinder with Finger Eleven on Aug. 15, $35 and $25. The budget for the entertainment buys was $350,000 plus production, Hawke said.

The grandstand has a capacity of about 6,200 and the concerts all averaged about 5,600, so the loss of the arena’s extra seats was not a problem, Hawke said.

Those were the only concerts planned for the fair; however, Hawke had booked Celtic Woman for the day after the fair closed. That show could not be converted to an outdoor production.

Hawke called the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman, Mont., which picked up the Celtic Woman concert. Hawke also had to cancel concerts by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, who already were routed to Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Ticket sales were under way for those appearances; a concert by Rodney Carrington was about to go on sale and did not. Carrington now is playing the Adams Event Center in Missoula, Mont., on Nov. 18.

As to what it will cost to repair the Rimrock Auto Arena, “Let me first preface that by saying we are insured up to $121 million, and we’re probably in the vicinity of half of that, plus a little money for lost business.”

Insurance also will help pay for the code upgrades that will be required at the arena, which was completed in 1975, 15 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandated handicapped accessibility.

Charlie Smith and David Forkner, formerly of HOK Smith Forkner in Knoxville and now with the global design firm Populous, have been retained and will work with CTA Architects Engineers in Billings, Hawke said.

“Populous will return this week with concept drawings for consideration,” said Hawke, who noted that the designs will go before the three Yellowstone County commissioners for approval.

“Based on the outcomes of those presentations, we’ll be better able to adjust the timeline, but right now the target date (for completion) is sometime in March.”

In addition to doing what will be necessary to take the building up to code, “We hope to make a few enhancements,” Hawke said. “Instead of simply rebuilding, it’s a nice opportunity to make some updates that may not be covered by the insurance at replacement cost but would be logical to do in the process.”

Austin, Texas-based Mighty Thomas Carnival provided 33 rides on the midway, said co-owner John Hanschen, with the popular rides being the Century bumper cars, the Thunderbolt, Pharaoh’s Fury and the three-lane, 100-foot long Frederiksen slide.

The situation with the arena actually might have helped the carnival achieve a 2 percent gain over last year because the grandstand is closer to the midway, Hanschen said.

Pay-one-price, all-you-can-ride wristbands cost $20 or $2 off with a coupon, Hawke said, and were good either for afternoon or evening hours. There also was a “Buddy Day” that basically was a buy-one-get-one-free event from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Admission cost $8 for ages 13 to 64 and $5 for ages 6 to 12 and 65-plus, Hawke said. Gate revenues of $467,829 were on par with last year. “Our record was $496,781, in 2008, the year before the recession, so it’s a good report,” Hawke said.

The entire fair budget was about $1.2 million but with some cost overruns that will be covered by insurance.

MetraPark was four years into a 10-year naming rights sponsorship deal with Rimrock Auto of Billings. The deal will be suspended for a year and then resumed because of the time the building will be out of commission.

Next year’s fair dates will be Aug. 12-20, by which time the renovated arena should be up and running for several months. – Mary Wade Burnside

Interviewed for this article: Sandra Hawke, (406) 256-2400; John Hanschen, (512) 282-4442