New incentive hopes to attract concerts to Civic Center

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With bigger venues now available, the Lake Charles Civic Center has been overlooked. City officials hope a new incentive will be their ticket to big shows.

"The costs of the national touring acts are much greater these days. It's kind of hard to amortize the cost of touring acts with the number of seats that we have," said Joe Toups, LC Civic Center Director.

The Civic Center can easily seat 7,700, but it's been a while since they've packed the house for a major concert. Toups explains by offering an incentive to promoters to share the costs of liquor/beer they may once again be able to attract an audience.

Under the agreement the city would would pay 25% of the liquor/beer concession revenue (less applicable taxes) to the specified promoters, per show. The specified promoter would have to bring a minimum of three major concerted events per year with artists having an average national audience of 4,500 plus patrons per show. The Lake Charles City Council was told they would have to act soon in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

"If it's not done now then we have to wait until next spring and potentially miss out on several promoters who have shown interest," said Toups.

"Because of the way these acts are booked several months in advance - if we don't execute this agreement now it will be another year before we can get into the cycle," said Mayor Randy Roach.

Council members are in the business of making money and understand they have to spend some to make some.

"Let me get this right - we get 75 cents on the dollar. And if they don't bring any acts we get zero cents on the dollars. Makes sense," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.

"Nobody is going to do anything for free and they are not going to help us get acts if we don't pay them. So I'm more than happy to give them that part. I would split it with them. This would be a fine start," said Councilman Dana Carl Jackson.

With the council's unanimous vote, Toups said he is ready to get to work, book some shows and fill the seats.

"I'm very excited and pleased with their decision. It will be easier. We may be able to get some potential promoters," said Toups.

Again several potential promoters are interested, but as of now no specific acts are set in stone.

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