Attendance exceeded expectations for the inaugural year of Wilmington’s 7,200-seat concert hall, the Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park.
According to figures from the City of Wilmington, nearly 90,000 tickets were sold for the 20 performances booked by the Live Nation Hall Manager at the pavilion in 2021, from the opening in July with three days of Widespread Panic performances until at his last show in October. That’s nearly 10,000 more than expected, said Amy Beatty, the city’s director of community services.
The city receives $ 2 on each ticket sold, as well as an annual rent of $ 200,000 from Live Nation, which represents almost $ 380,000 in revenue for the city.
Live Nation gave 20 performances in a compressed 2021 concert season (typically the concert season begins in April) at the $ 35 million park pavilion, to which Live Nation has contributed $ 4 million.
“We have already heard of them [Live Nation] that they received double that amount of interest from agents for the 2022 concert season, ”Beatty said.
Live Nation could book more than 20 shows next year if the city manager approves it, she said.
“We’re certainly thrilled to hear that the market is so strong here and obviously with that comes increased recognition of Wilmington across the state and country,” Beatty said. “And with that, it brings tourism dollars and positive growth. But we want to make sure we balance all of this with the wants and needs of our downtown residents and businesses. “
Beatty said a combination of factors led to the success of the first season of Live Oak Bank Pavilion.
“I think Wilmington has demonstrated his love of music for a very long time,” said Beatty. “I’ve lived in Wilmington long enough to remember the days of the Mad Monk and the nationwide tours they were able to book in such a small venue.”
A smaller existing venue in Wilmington that is also operated by Live Nation, the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, regularly sells its shows.
“I think people have come back stronger than ever in their support for live music. And I believe COVID restrictions played a role in that. Everyone just wanted to go out and attend an event and have that experience of camaraderie and bonding with other human beings, ”said Beatty. “And I think the word spread very quickly in the music industry, from the positive experience artists said they had when they were here. They loved the place.
The economic impact of the pavilion has a huge impact on downtown businesses, officials said, with restaurants seeing a sharp increase in revenues.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said: “The number of hotel rooms booked and the amount of alcohol sold, the amount of food purchased – it’s huge.”