COVER- Entertainment overload: Can so many music venues make it?

John Paul Jones Arena has sold 79,111 tickets in 2007– but is that enough to keep big name acts coming back?

It's been more than a month since tickets for The Police went on sale, and the 16,000-seat John Paul Jones Arena still has not sold out. Why aren't Sting and the boys packing the house?

 JPJ GM Larry Wilson says he "couldn't answer that question," but he predicts tickets will sell out before the November 6 concert.

Pavilion manager Kirby Hutto and WTJU program director Chuck Taylor, however, have other opinions.

"Have you seen the reviews of their shows?" says Hutto. "I think a lot of people have gone to them and said, 'Well, I won't do that again.'"

"Have you seen the ticket prices?" asks Taylor. (Indeed, they're between $90 and $225.) "They're outrageously expensive."

Still, bad reviews and high ticket prices seem not to have hurt Police shows at other venues. In August, the band filled the 55,000-seat Giants Stadium, and in March, the reunited trio reportedly sold out the entire British portion of the tour– including one stadium seating 82,000– in 30 minutes.

"The Police haven't sold out?" says Pollstar mag editor Gary Bongiovanni, clearly surprised by the news. "The Police are the tour of the year."

Indeed, JPJ has even had to do some billboard advertising for the show, including one above a used car lot on Route 20 south toward Scottsville. Could there be other reasons The Police haven't snowed Charlottesville, whose arena was named "best new concert venue" in February by Pollstar? Could Charlottesville be experiencing something that might be called... the Mick effect?

The DMB effect

The 1970s saw the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Jackson Browne in Charlottesville, primarily at UVA's circular basketball arena affectionately known as U-Hall, which seats about 8,500 for concerts.

Within a decade, University Hall's acoustic deficiency and lack of air conditioning had become so legendary that it played host to just two major concerts in the 1990s: Bob Dylan and Phish. The former act no longer depended much on a venue's sonic strength, and fans of the latter were possibly interested in something other than U-Hall's acoustics, as local constables were kept busy making several parking-lot drug arrests.

Further complicating the Charlottesville music scene was the hike in the beer-drinking age from 18 to 21. With that change, most college-age concert-goers suddenly became unable to provide venues with a formerly key profit center. A town that once hosted Janis Joplin, R.E.M., and the Talking Heads suddenly hosted almost no arena concerts.

Meanwhile, a homegrown act had begun tearing up the national scene. But between its major-label debut in the fall of 1994 and the spring of 2001, Dave Matthews Band had grown too big for Charlottesville's small aging venues. In the early 1990s, Ray Charles and Lyle Lovett had to be content with the 1,276-seat Performing Arts Center, but DMB needed something bigger.

Then, in April 2001, a town that had considered live entertainment to be Fridays after Five and opera at Ash Lawn suddenly found itself with a 50,000-seat venue when UVA pumped $100 million into its football stadium– capable of hosting the hometown boys in the style to which they'd become accustomed. Among the surprises of their homecoming  was that rock legend Neil Young was on the bill... as the opening act.

And further shocks were in store.

The Mick effect

On an unseasonably warm Tuesday in May 2005, word raced through town that the world's greatest rockers were on their way. Many thought it was a joke. The Rolling Stones in Charlottesville?

But they really did come that October, and so now, after arguably the world's biggest rock legends graced our little 'ville, it's impossible to be impressed anymore– even by legends like The Police.

Maybe it began before that with the DMB effect, but however it started, Charlottesvillians may be losing their ability to be impressed. With a nod to William Faulkner, are we simply so snobby and self-centered here that celebrities are not just assured their privacy, they're even ignored?

Perhaps the reason is something more mundane, more mathematical. In such a small college town, with our embarrassment of entertainment venue riches, might a $130 million spot like JPJ simply be too big for its britches? Or its metro area?

Like the JPJ, the Verizon Center is a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue that's home to a college basketball team (the Georgetown Hoyas). But unlike JPJ, it's located in a major city with a metro population of five million.

By contrast, Charlottesville-Albemarle has a metro population of a little over 130,000, and our Verizon-sized arena is home to a college basketball team that barely squeaked into the NCAA rankings last season. (And JPJ can't boast the NBA's Washington Wizards, the WNBA's Washington Mystics, or the NHL's Washington Capitals.)

The argument is that a facility like JPJ will help the University build and develop its basketball program– that the venue itself will help Charlottesville become an entertainment destination every bit as trek-worthy as larger cities. However, while it may be too soon to pass judgment on JPJ's financial viability (it celebrated its first birthday August 1), some might wonder if this "build it and they will come" approach isn't a bit of wishful thinking.


Regardless of how JPJ does, sticker shock plus the sheer number of shows coming through this now multi-venued town might be conspiring to make business tricky for some of these many venues. 

John Paul Jones Arena 

Opened: August 1. 2006 

Capacity: 16,000

Some names: Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, High School Musical, Rod Stewart, Blue Man Group, Monster Jam, WWE Monday Night Raw

Charlottesville Pavilion

Opened: July 27, 2005 

Capacity: 2,500 under roof plus lawn. Open floor is 4,000 plus the lawn.

Some names: Loretta Lynn, Flaming Lips, B52s, Lyle Lovett, Randy Travis, Robert Randolph, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Wilco

The Paramount Theater

Opened: December 17, 2004 (orig: 1931)

Capacity: 1,040 when the orchesstra pit is not in use, 1,005 if pit is in use

Some names: Tony Bennett, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Carrot Top, Taylor Hicks, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Cosby, Lily Tomlin, Wynton Marsalis, Ryan Adams, Yo Yo Ma, Indigo Girls

V. Earl Dickinson Theater

Opened: 1998

Capacity: 500

Some names: Zydeco-A-Go-Go, Harlem Gospel Choir

Old Cabell Hall

Opened: June 1998 (orig: 1898)

Capacity: 851

Some names: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pat Matheny, Jesse Jackson, John Prine, John Sebastian, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra

Gravity Lounge 

Opened: June 2003

Capacity: 160 seated, 200 standing

Some names: Leon Russell, Odetta, Devon Sproule, Paul Curreri, Lauren Hoffman, Jesse Winchester, Johnny Winter, Janis Ian, Ralph Nader

Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center 

Opened: 1984 (using a bond referendum)

Capacity: 1,276

Some names: Ray Charles, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Indigo Girls

Satellite Ballroom

Opened: December 2004

Capacity: 500 standing, 350 seated

Some names: Eddie from Ohio, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Negativland

214 Community Arts Center (formerly the Prism Coffeehouse)

Opened: July 2006

Capacity: 200

Some names: Steve Smith, Troublesome Creek, Slaid Cleaves

C3A (The Live Arts Building)

Opened: November 2003

Capacity: 199

Some names: Poetry Lounge, Geoff West, Technosonics Festival, Corndog

Jefferson Theater (under renovation)

Opened: no set date

Capacity: 800 + (projected)

Some names: Terri Allard, Ben Folds Five, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds- in the old days of the 1990s; Harry Houdini in the really old days.

Smaller local venues: 

Outback Lodge


Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar 

Fellini's #9

The Bridge Arts Space

Atomic Burrito

Rapture (R2)

Coupe DeVille's

Bashir's Taverna



La Taza

Buddhist Biker Bar & Grill

Dürty Nelly's Pub

Baja Bean Company


Mono Loco

Wild Wing Cafe

Rapunzel's Coffee & Books

The Virginian

The Shebeen

South Street Brewery

Michael's Bistro

Uncle Charlie's Smokehouse

The Hamner Theater

Orbit Billiards

Recently (sort of) closed venues:

Max/Trax - late 2002

Tokyo Rose basement - December 2004

Prism Coffeehouse - April 2006

Starr Hill Music Hall - June 2007

The one that got away

Still not sure that Charlottesville has too many venues? UVA seems to be. In 2003, local benefactors Hunter and Carl Smith offered UVA $22 million to build a giant theater at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road. Robert A.M. Stern Architects (of Darden School fame) even contributed a design. The 100,000-square-foot building would have held a 1,600-seat concert hall and a black box theater. However, in January, UVA announced that the gift had lapsed since construction hadn't begun by a deadline and that the project was being amended to include residences. Carl Smith died in December 2005.

A proposed rendering of the concert hall by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

Phenomenal success?

Ticket revenue from concerts is up all over North America, according to Bongiovanni's industry mag Pollstar, which finds that ticket sales hit a record $3.1 billion in 2006, a 16 percent hike over the previous year. Much of the increase comes from rising prices, but attendance, which rose four percent last year to 37.9 million tickets sold, is also climbing.

While he's unwilling to reveal actual attendance figures (as were all the Charlottesville venues contacted for this story), JPJ's Wilson says the arena's last year has been a "phenomenal" success. He points to seven sold-out shows: Eric Clapton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, High School Musical, and the grand opening back-to-back DMB shows.

Wilson doesn't mention that such internationally renowned venue-packers as James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Billy Joel, Justin Timberlake, and Rod Stewart did not sell out.

However, according to Bongiovanni, seven sold-out shows for a new venue in a new market is "respectable." And JPJ's 79,111 reported ticket sales during the first three quarters of 2007 (as reported to Pollstar, numbers that rank 95th in ticket sales at venues nationwide, says Bongiovanni) is on par with similar-sized venues in the area: the Patriot Center at George Mason University reported 98,000, and the Scope arena in Norfolk reported 75,000.

As for The Police not selling out, Bongiovanni thinks it may simply be sticker shock. "It's a new market, and people in the area aren't used to those ticket prices," he says. In general, he thinks JPJ has done "pretty well" during its first year, but he says it all depends on whether the local population will support the programing with their wallets. "If the market can't support that level of artist, that ticket price," he says of The Police concert, "then high-level acts like that won't be back."

So, what has JPJ's Wilson learned over the last year that might make future arena shows more successful? While he says he'll try to avoid sandwiching acts between dates at nearby arenas, he also admits he has "zero control" over where else artists choose to play in our area.

For example, one reason the Rod Stewart show might have been such a sales bomb– sources says UVA gave away thousands of tickets to University employees, and Che Stratos of Gravity Lounge says JPJ was "begging people" to take tickets– could have been that the blonde-maned sex symbol had just played in DC and Norfolk. In short, folks who might have traveled to JPJ to see Stewart had already had their fix.

The same could have been true for the recent Bob Dylan/Elvis Costello and Maroon 5 concerts. While the muted black "failure curtain" was drawn to hide the empty upper decks at all three shows, the Maroon 5 concert appeared to be only a third full. Both of these performers had played in Norfolk, Maryland, and DC on either side of their Charlottesville dates.

Doubtless, having a venue like JPJ is a luxury for locals. While the typical American concert-going experience may involve an hour-plus journey to an unfamiliar city, Charlottesvillians can drive 10, perhaps 15, minutes, grab a leisurely bite to eat, park at Barracks Road (or pay for on-site parking), see some legend like Clapton, Dylan, Elvis Costello, or The Police, and still get home in time to tuck in the kids and watch the Daily Show. 

And that's just one local entertainment venue booking big-name acts.

During any given week, household names also perform at the Charlottesville Pavilion, the Paramount Theater, and at many smaller venues such as the Satellite Ballroom and Gravity Lounge. Each has opened for business in the past four years, and each draws acts one would think we'd have no business luring– often too many to keep track of, and certainly too many to afford.

For example, in the next three weeks the city will host Barack Obama (technically a political rally, but entertainment nonetheless), The Police, Dionne Warwick, Cowboy Junkies, Toots & the Maytals, and Band of Horses. Then there's the Virginia Film Festival! Throw in the Lipizzaner Stallions, Disney on Ice, the Live Arts schedule, and acts at smaller venues too numerous to mention, and we're living in an entertainment Eden that could rival cities many times our size.

Indeed, in addition to the 36 acts and 67 shows at JPJ since it opened on August 1 last year, 66 national events have graced the Pavilion since July 2005, and 337 events have taken place at the Paramount since December 2004. And that's not counting the hundreds of shows in the last three years at Gravity Lounge, Satellite Ballroom, and the now-defunct Starr Hill Music Hall.

As a result, JPJ's Wilson admits it also takes skill to know whom to book locally and when, as acts and genres can overlap in ways that defeat promotion of a show.

For that reason, Wilson says he tries to coordinate with the folks at the Paramount and the Pavilion "to make sure they're not hurting me, and I'm not hurting them."

But the Pavilion's boss doesn't appear to be as concerned about timing.

"Yes, it can be a problem," says Hutto. "But we had Lucinda Williams the night before Dylan, and that show was a great success." Hutto says the Pavilion had always worried about scheduling shows on UVA football game days, but last Saturday's Phil Lesh and Friends show, which coincided with UVA's victory over the University of Connecticut, was "a monster success."

Capshaw's Pavilion

According to Hutto, 2007 has been the Pavilion's "most successful year so far," a success he attributes less to studying data and doing market research than to following instincts. This is, after all, the venue built in 2005 by Coran Capshaw, the man who propelled a little-known quintet out of Eastern Standard restaurant and onto the world stage.

"We ask ourselves," says Hutto, "does this artist, at this price, make sense in this market? Can this artist be successful in this venue? Yes, we look at tour histories, the last time they played in Virginia, past experiences, but in the end it comes down to a gut feeling. Having people like Coran and others having that experience, that ability to make good educated guesses is key."

Hutto admits that only a few shows have sold out the 3,500-capacity Pavilion– Bonnie Raitt was one– but he says the Pavilion doesn't have to sell out to make money if acts are chosen wisely, as the Lucinda Williams and Phil Lesh shows seem to indicate.

Hutto points out that overhead at the Pavilion– a canopy-covered outdoor venue that cost $3.4 million– is much lower than that $130 million, air-conditioned JPJ, which gives the downtowners more financial breathing room. But he's not ready to pass judgment on the big arena's performance. "I think it's too early," he says, "to decide what's going on there."

However, Hutto does embrace the build-it-and-they-will-come ethos. Using the success of the Downtown Mall as an example, he says that the "critical mass" of venues is what makes it a successful destination.

"Fifteen years ago," Hutto says, "you couldn't even get UVA students to go downtown. Now look at it. It's been successful because it's become an arts and entertainment destination."

Hutto also believes that Capshaw's latest venue, the soon-to-be renovated Jefferson Theater (which Capshaw purchased from Hook editor Hawes Spencer last year), and which will seat as many as 800 people when it's completed, will only strengthen this critical mass.

However, Gravity Lounge's Stratos suggests that entertainment overload could be hurting smaller venues like Gravity, a tiny Downtown Mall acoustic venue, and even confounding the general public.

"The week that Kings of Leon, Lucinda Williams, and Dylan and Costello played really blew us out of the water," Stratos says. "That was an overload week. Gravity Lounge suffered. People spent all their money on those other shows." 

In addition to missing shows at Gravity, Stratos says many people had no idea that Kings of Leon and Lucinda Williams were in town because of all the Dylan/Costello buzz.

Still, Stratos isn't complaining. Like others, she enjoys the luxury of what JPJ and the Pavilion have to offer, and thinks having so many choices is, in general, a positive thing.

The cost

Industry mag Pollstar found that the average ticket for one of North America's top tours cost over $61 last year, about eight percent higher than the $57 average in 2005.

"When you start talking $30, $80, $100 for a ticket, that may be standard in DC," says WTJU's Taylor, who says he's been listening to music in town for 33 years. "But here in Charlottesville people are still in shock, I think."

While Taylor fondly recalls the time he spent $5 to see Jimi Hendrix, today's concerts at the Pavilion, the Paramount, and even Gravity Lounge typically cost at least $75 for a pair of tickets.

Jim Armstrong, a local middle-aged concert goer who says he's seen at least 80 shows in his lifetime, says he would have been at almost every show at JPJ (except Maroon 5), if the seat prices had been lower. 

"When the average working person is asked to shell out $75 at minimum to go to the Paramount, and more for JPJ, how can anyone expect to fill any of the venues to capacity?" he asks. 

 "The last show I truly wanted to attend was Peter Frampton at the Paramount, but the tickets were so unbelievably high [$65 to $85], I couldn't afford to sit in the cheapest seats, never mind the 'golden circle,'" Armstrong says. "Charlottesville's promoters have overpriced the venues so that true fans can't attend. What's wrong with this city?"

Several concert goers who attended the B-52s gig at the Pavilion in July said they were surprised it wasn't sold out. Could it be that $35 tickets drove some people away? Indeed, many people, like local blogger Zoe Krylova, often choose to listen to Pavilion concerts in their own special way. 

"I joined others lined up along the Belmont bridge," Krylova admits about the Rufus Wainwright and Neko Case show. "You can peek into the Pavilion and get some good glances of the performers and hear perfectly good sound (but for the traffic)."

Krylova writes that she had come mainly to see Case, but was a little disappointed.

"Maybe it was tour fatigue, or opening act annoyance, or the heat," she writes. "Or maybe it was just that I was watching her from a nearby bridge. But I'm glad I didn't pay $27 for a ticket."

Taylor, a self-described "long-time concert aficionado," can't help appreciating JPJ and its $7 million sound and video system.

"Musicians would get angry because the sound was so bad at U-Hall," he says. "At least the sound is good at JPJ; at least they thought about that. And hey, if JPJ doesn't work as a concert venue, they still have a pretty nice basketball stadium."

John Paul Jones Arena's booking boss, Larry Wilson, shows off the "best new venue" award to Chrystal Wilson and Steve Tadlock of Fresno, California's Save Mart Center.
POLLSTAR/Jason Squires, Jeffrey Mayer, and John Shearer

Coran Capshaw brings bands to the Paramount as well as to his own Pavilion, his Satellite Ballroom, and soon his Jefferson Theater. (He's shown here at the Pollstar awards in February with Will Botwin, the former Columbia Records president who now oversees Capshaw's Red Light Management as well as the ATO label.)
POLLSTAR/Jason Squires, Jeffrey Mayer, and John Shearer

The Pavillion has hosted 66 events since it opened, but only a few shows have sold out. "We don't need to sell out to make money," says Pavilion manager Kirby Hutto. Here, k.d. lang opens for Lyle Lovett, while non-ticket holders listen from the Belmont Bridge.

After 36 years, Rod Stewart returned to Charlottesville, but JPJ was "begging people" to take tickets, according to one local music expert.

During the April 22 Bonnie Raitt concert, one of the Pavilion's only sold-out shows, Raitt sang the John Prine song, "Angel from Montgomery." "I thought about those folks from Virginia Tech during that whole song," said Raitt as the crowd offered a standing ovation. "Virginia is for lovers, indeed."

Not surprisingly, Dave Matthews Band sold out both their shows at JPJ's "Grand Opening" in September '06. Also not surprising: the Rolling Stones were the exit music when the house lights came on.

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne– who told the crowd that they had never played Charlottesville in 23 years of touring– surfed the ecstatic crowd at the Pavilion last year in a giant bubble.

At his Paramount show last February, 81-year-old blues legend B.B. King told the audience he was nervous because two of his favorite people were in the audience: John Grisham and Corey Harris.



Why don't they get some acts that people want to see? Then maybe they will sell out.

could be some of these dudes aren't quite the sex symbols they used to be?
Or maybe the high price of gas, food, and utilities, the things we can't do without are cutting into our entertainment budget.
Everyone should try and make a Hicks show, very energetic. He did pretty well, a number of sellouts. I was kind of drug there and was very surprised.

It's a simple matter of population and cost. Most larger acts go to places like DC, Hampton Roads, Richmond. In those areas, there may well be a large enough population that you will have 16,000 people willing to pay $60 or more (or 90 and up, in this case) for tickets. Not to mention the service and parking fees on top of that. There are plenty of acts who come to JPJ who I'd like to see - but there aren't too many who I'd fork out that kind of money to see. If I could get a nosebleed seat for $20, then I'd be all over it. But I'm not rich, and neither are most C-ville-area residents, despite what the housing costs might lead you to believe.

It's not the venue or the plethora thereof that is the problem.

It's the liability insurance, the pyrotecnics, the attorneys, the labor unions, and the self-important artists and their ridiculous riders who all contribute to the fact that a family outing to a good concert costs enough to buy a car.

We who used to be regular concert-goers in Roanoke, C'ville, Richmond, NoVa, DC, Annapolis and elsewhere have to choose very carefully any more, because travel and ticket prices are so very out-of-hand.

The Stones, the Police, Genesis and others who have permitted their tickets to become a runaway train should be ashamed of themselves. They don't need the money. Respectable artists respect their audiences, who placed them there in the first place.

One album at a time.

Jesus god, why must you cram Dave flipping Mathews into every article? Is his mention at all relevant to the point you are trying to make? The subhead of that section is the "DMB effect"... which is... what exactly? Thats he's huge? That he plays big places? That he must be mentioned in every article even remotely about music?

There are all kinds of cool things happening in the cracks and crannies of this town. Dig a little. Maybe find somethng without a press release from Redlight.

Oh well, I suppose I should be happy that this week's feature is not about some twenty year old crime.

Note to JPJ: Bring us BRUCE!

The BRUCE comment is right-on, but also interesting... The Springsteen & E Street Band tour is supposed to take another U.S. leg in early 2008, and if it follows the pattern of past Springsteen tours, it will swing more southern on the second leg (the current leg is all the big markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast). I may be wrong (didn't live here at the time) but I think he played Richmond on his past couple of tours? So my guess would be his promoters would take a good hard look at JPJ for next spring... might be interested in playing it given the industry buzz about it, but I'd bet that if the The Police show doesn't end up selling out, The Boss will be headed to Richmond instead of C-ville :( I really hope Bruce does play C-ville -- I couldn't make his D.C. shows next month, since they're on weeknights.

This could be the "tipping point" for JPJ since Bruce's tour will probably be one of the biggest grossers of the year. And if he skips C-ville, I'd be skeptical that we'd see others of similar stature (the next U2 tour, for example) coming in the years ahead.

On the other hand, as the article points out, Clapton and a few others DID sell out JPJ... And unlike the resting-on-their laurels Police, Bruce has "new product" to promote (one of the top records in the country right now).

Speaking as someone who used to live in C-ville and now lives closer to the D.C. Metro area, I would MUCH rather go see a show in D.C. where you have easier driving access, better parking options and public transportation options that make the before and after experience far more favorable than that of Charlottesville. No show is worth sitting on Emmitt Street or trying to find parking downtown or being stuck on 250 and the JPA. It's ridiculous. I heard that tons of people got stuck trying to get to the Stones show and missed half the show. Give me the Verizon Center any day over a venue in C-ville. And I remember it took us over 2 1/2 hours to get from Scott Stadium to Rose Hill Drive after the DMB/Neil Young show. I'll never ever put myself through THAT again. The show totally wasn't worth the headache of the before and after experience.

What about Satellite Ballroom? They get good acts, and the tickets are reasonably priced. How does that figure into the statistics?

This writer is just writing to see him self in print i think. He has no Clue!!! Larry Wilson tries to bring us the big acts for this market but he gets even bigger ones than any other market of this size in the US. So why pound on a GM and his Building for tring to do the best that he can for this size market. praise and apprecaite. If you want to critisize something maybe you should review this artical and then you will have something to put down!!!!

This writer is a joke!!! I say we give praise to JPJ & it's GM for bringing quality shows to a wonderful area. It's nice going to see a great show & not have to deal w/ big city B.S.(traffic, crime, etc...). The "Best new venue" award should speak volumes of whats going on at JPJ. After reading this article I sure hope no one decides to critique a years worth of your work!!!!

I think we need some ROCK in Charlottesville. Check the list of shows at JPJ: "Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews Band, High School Musical, Rod Stewart, Blue Man Group, Monster Jam, WWE Monday Night Raw" None of those would I pay more than $20 to see, but I'm sure the ticket prices were much higher than that.

I've seen ONE big concert in my entire life, Guns & Roses. It was cool to see them before they broke up, but honestly the big venue setting doesn't do much for me.

I'm MUCH happier seeing Bella Morte at Outback Lodge, standing 10 feet from the band. DMB I can certainly respect them as musicians, but their jam music isn't my thing, and I saw them all I wanted to back at Trax.

Re: KMK comment about Satellite Ballroom

I don't think the Satellite Ballroom would figure into the big picture much at all. Say 300 people attended a show at $10 each, that's $3,000 to be shared with the venue and the band. JPJ show with 16,000 seats at a conservative $50 per ticket = $800,000. Not a bad chunk of change for one night.

But as I said before I'd much rather see a band at Satellite Ballroom than JPJ.

Prices at JPJ don't reflect the prevailing wages in Charlottesville. The University works to keep wages low, and others (Lexis-Nexis, CFA, SNL, etc.) follow suit by saying, hey, we're just paying the market wage. I lived in a large city and made city wages; but when I moved here, I had to give up things, including the extras that city wages buy. While I'll pay $40 to see Wilco or Phil Lesh when I can walk around and drink a beer, I definitely can't (and won't) pay over $200 to see the Police (or anyone for that matter) in a cramped, indoor arena seat. The powers that be in this town should consider that the majority of us want good entertainment but we all don't own vineyards and jags. Housing is overpriced here. Food is overpriced here. The extras, like entertainment, need to provide real value for the buck.

Somebody is doing something right as these acts are choosing JPJ over other bigger/same size arenas. Back in the day everyone use to come to Richmond, now they skip this place for the Verizon wireless venues etc.. So what does that tell you... Everyone is complaining about the ticket prices, come on this is 2007 not back in the 80's. Everyones tickets are expensive,just accept it. If you want cheap go to some hole in the wall club and see some no name for $20 and have your beer while listening to some crappy sound system. I'm glad JPJ is there to bring in quality acts, period!

Buzz, JB, what gives? 'This writer is a joke,' and 'he has no clue' are not arguments...they are things that angry six-year olds say. Come on, boys...where's the substance?

There are plenty of things in the article that suggest JPJ is doing well--a nod from Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni, 79,000 in tickets sales. There's also a section on how wonderful it is to have all the venues we have here. Did you read the article or just the parts you didn't like? Of course JPJ is a great venue to have in our little town...its a wonderful luxury. And of course some great acts have been brought here. But can our market sustain such a venue, especially when we have so many other venues? Can our market support big, expensive acts like the Police? Is there an entertainment overload? Engage the issue!

Note to Crank: It would have been impossible to not mention the DMB in a story like this...remember, the DMB's 2001 Scott Stadium show laid the ground work for the Stones show, which laid the ground work for Charlottesville becoming a place that could attract big name acts. Without that first DMB show, without DMBs management (and the band members) being based here, its unlikely that any of the rest would have followed....thats the DMB effect.

And you're right...there are plenty of cool things happening in the nooks and crannies, but thats for another story....

Thanks for your comments, everyone!


Consider promoting the C-ville Pavilion in NoVa. I attended the Phil Lesh show last month...came away VERY impressed with the venue. Great accoustics and nothing beats the outdoors under cover, low key security, good micro brews, reasonable prices. Heck, I even had a great time on the top level of the parking garage next door listening to the pre-show soundcheck.

It's better than anything in the DC area. Less than 2 hours away. It takes almost that long to go to the Merriwether Post Pavilion with their gestapo police and $8 beers.


bruce should play satellite ballroom.