Lubbock, We Have a Concert Venue Problem
It's tough being a city the size of Lubbock.
When a band wants to play, say, Dallas, they can pick a right-sized venue -- whether it's an amphitheater, theater, large club or whatever. They can go inside or outside, or do whatever they want to put on the type of performance they want to put on.
In Lubbock, that's not an option.
In Lubbock, we have the Lone Star Events Center, Jake's Backroom, and the United Supermarkets Arena. Sure, there may be a few more, but let's be real here.
The United Supermarkets Arena is for strong A- acts. It's not a place for the U2s and Beyonces of the world. It's simple economics. The USA can hold maybe 15,000, while the Starplex can hold around 20K. That's easily a $200,000 difference in the artist's payday.
The other problem is, the venue has a lot of days blocked off for other events. Let me also say, we should be extremely thankful for the Metallicas and Garth Brookses of the world, who essentially took a cut in pay to play a market this size.
Next up, the Lonestar Events Center/Pavilion. The venue has seen better days and can't stay booked enough to pay for updates. With all of the mid-sized acts being gobbled up by festivals, shows are now far and few between. The venue holds around 1,500 for indoor shows, and let's say around 6,000 for outdoor ones.
Lastly, there's Jake's Sports Cafe, which is an awesome venue for live shows, but limited to around 600 people.
So, where the problem? Well, mostly between shows expected to bring in 4,000 to 12,000. I found this out while trying to get Weezer to come to Lubbock (I did make a pitch for the Lubbock Civic Center, but the promoter doesn't want to work with the city).
I think you're also going to start seeing a secondary problem for 600-2,500 attendee shows, with a lack of a theater-type venue. (Both Ghost & Puscifer are examples of bands who have insisted on those types of venues.)
And at this point, it's going to be really frustrating to point at areas where we won't have a problem at some point. Less touring bands, fewer venues, and even fewer people going to concerts is going to mean a lot of travel for us live music lovers.