The Problem With Lubbock Live Venues
There's a big problem with Lubbock live venues and it can be summed up pretty easily-Lubbock gets more than it's fair share of traveling entertainment, but not enough to support the existing venues. You can also take that information and say that the existing events do just good enough that they could and would successful underbid for any potential events. Of yes, there's a LOT more problems too and we'll go through them.
United Spirit Arena was built too small to use as a concert facility. Now, it can hold just enough to keep anyone from trying to build anything bigger, but it's not going to land the top talent because there simply isn't enough seats. On the country side George Strait and Taylor Swift were pretty good for the venue size, but you're not going to see a U2, Springsteen or Beyonce type show there.
Next are the cities venues. The problem is that they are the cities venues. I can't overstate this enough. The Coliseum and Civic Center (and let's go ahead and lump in Fairpark) stay mostly closed due to city restrictions with, you guessed it, Select-A-Seat. Most outside promoters hate Select-A-Seat and will do everything they can to do avoid working with them. And you CAN NOT book a city venue without using the city owned Select-A-Seat (which seems like it should be challenged legally, but why bother?). There's other problems too, but why bother, as long as S-A-S is around, these venues will host some nice craft shows for your mee-maw and pa-pa.
Then we get to the Amp & The Pavilion. The Amp & Pavilion offer promoters a very inexpensive place where they can put a lot of people. There's one problem with being inexpensive, it doesn't give you much money to spend on upgrades. The Amp itself is great, especially if you know about the bathrooms over the hill to the Northeast. The Pavilion itself suffers from a low roof which makes it hard to see if there's over a few hundred in there (and there's usually 2000 in there).
For the smaller stuff there's Jake's which is a pretty good place to see a show. It get's smoky, but Lubbock hasn't quite reached a place where it's comfortable from stopping smoking in bars. Wild West is a great place to see a show but the stage is small and the management hasn't been real good about returning calls (AWOLNATION was supposed to play there, but had to be moved due to a lack of communication).
Now we get to the very infrequently used venues. First, I have no idea what's going on with Tequila Jungle. The Cactus Courtyard is okay, but a little too open, plus it's in the heart of the rapidly deteriorating Depot District (the businesses aren't necessarily running down, but something HAS to be done about he crime going UP around there). The new Republic on Texas has a pretty good sound to it, but the venue is set up awkwardly and it looks like it can only hold about 200 people comfortably. I heard The Office is pretty good, but I've never been in there.
So, what would be the dream venues? Well first, The Warehouse & South Beach should have never have been torn down. If I had unlimited money, I'd keep the Amp but upgrade all the facilities. I'd then open a 1000-1500 person capacity club (hopefully two tiered layout) like South Beach.
Now notice, even if I had lottery money I wouldn't invest in another Coliseum because there is no way you'd ever, ever get a drop of that money back. Even with those options, you wouldn't cover all needs, but you'd be closer.
This article was inspired by Driver's article on experiencing four venues in four days. Check it out here.