Amphitheater concert series earns first-ever profit

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:34 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

For the Amphitheater at Mizzou Concert Series, the third time was the charm.

Tim Hickman, associate athletic director of operations at the Hearnes Center, said in its third year the venue earned between $40,000 and $50,000. Comparatively, the second season, which also hosted three shows, broke even.

This season also marked the amphitheater’s first-ever sellout crowd. The 6,300-seat arena located behind MU’s Hearnes Center was filled with fans for folk rockers Ben Harper and Jack Johnson in the season’s opening concert. The amphitheater was the smallest venue the artists played on their tour. Hickman said organizers were pleased and a little surprised the show sold out.

The other two concerts, Widespread Panic and Lyle Lovett, brought in about 2,700 people each. Tickets ranged from $25 to $42.

Although the attendance rates varied, Richard King, owner of the Blue Note, said each show was outstanding and had its own highlights.

“These shows this year fit Columbia,” King said.

King helped the amphitheater schedule events as well as produce and promote the shows. He also served as the official beer vendor for the series.

Since the Amphitheater at Mizzou’s inaugural season in 2001, alcohol has been served on what is usually a dry campus.

“We try to be very strict,” King said. “It is a very sensitive issue on campus, and I’m aware of that.”

Problems with this year’s series were few. Hickman said they received about half a dozen noise complaints, all which concerned the Widespread Panic show.

Nancy Basco lives in Cliffview Townhouses, about half a mile east of the amphitheater. She said she could hear all of the concerts from her home but she didn’t mind it at all.

“Teenagers and college students have to have fun, and as adults we have to respect that,” Basco said.

Bathrooms were another potential problem, but Hickman said using a combination of Memorial Stadium’s facilities and portable toilets worked out fine.

Plans for next year’s series are still undecided. Among the top concerns is the construction of MU’s new basketball arena. The plans call for trenching that would border the top of the amphitheater and might put the series out of commission for a year if alternative plans can’t be made.

As of now, no performers have been booked for the fourth season, but King said he hopes to see the series continue along the same path as this year.

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