Shawn Holcomb, of Rome, has been hired as marketing and development manager and event promoter at The Cedartown Performing Arts Center. It is a part-time position, as Holcomb keeps busy in his full-time marketing position with a beverage company in Rome, and also tours frequently with the regional Georgia Blues Brothers performance group.
The past two years saw declining attendance at the auditorium, and a dip in revenues to the point that the city had to come in last year and pump money into the center. The situation reached a low in November 2010, when the auditorium canceled the planned Dec. 9, 2010 performance by singer Judy Collins, who was touring in support of a Christmas album.
Patrick Moore, then director of the center, made an appeal before the Cedartown City Commission for financial assistance to support the center. He said the recession was partly to blame for the downturn.
Ticket sales only covered a portion of the center’s bills, Moore explained in a 2010 interview. The auditorium had always depended on corporate sponsorships and donations to stay afloat, he said.
“We need donors, we need sponsors,” Moore said. “We’ve gone to everyone we can think of in Polk County and Floyd County. We’ve gotten nothing this year.”
Also hurting the auditorium in recent years was declining attendance. For example, when the Collins show was cancled in mid-November last year, only 62 tickets had been sold. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 940 people.
In the past year, the city commission has taken a more hands-on approach with the auditorium. A committee to oversee the civic center’s operation was formed, with Commissioner Dale Tuck appointed as the commission’s delegate. The hiring of Holcomb last month is one part of a comprehensive plan meant to turn the center back to profitability.
Next year’s schedule of bands focuses on “tribute” acts who portray a single musical act, playing their songs and, typically, attempting to recreate the appearance of the performer or group.
“What I want to do in 2012 is bring Las Vegas quality tribute artists to the Cedartown Performing Arts Center and offer top notch entertainment at an affordable price,” Holcomb said. “The cheapest ticket is just $10 and the most expensive is the VIP tickets and they are only $35, which will include a seat on the first two rows, access to the VIP lounge for a meet and greet, and dinner from Chrome Cowboys Smokehouse.
“The acts that we have booked are the best at what they do, and you will be blown away by how authentic they are to the people they are impersonating.”
The new season kicks off with a free open house event at 6 p.m. Dec. 3. Attractions at the open house include a video preview of all the acts coming in 2012, as well as a free concert by the Georgia Blues Brothers and Shawn Ash.
In addition, attendees will get a look at some remodeling that is being done. A concession stand has been added, and audiences are now allowed to take drinks and snacks into the civic center. A VIP area is being added in a little-used area on the north side of the stage. Also new are booths that will be selling T-shirts and other commemorative items tied to the shows.
The first show in the 2012 schedule, titled the Charter Communications Legends Concert Series, will be “Dolly and Kenny — A Tribute to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers” on Jan. 14. Local business Pink Sugar is the sponsor of this show.
Other upcoming shows include Young Elvis and the Blue Suedes, an Elvis tribute act focusing on the King of Rock’s earlier years; Folsom Prison Gang, a tribute to the music of Johnny Cash; and tribute bands for ‘80s bands such as Van Halen, Poison, Michael Jackson, Kiss and AC/DC.
Season passes are now on sale. Starting at $80, season pass holders get access to all the shows — basically getting one show for free. For more information, visit www.cedartownshows.com.
*Edit: Tickets may be purchased through a service, ETix, through the auditorium's website. Either click on the calender or find the promotional logo for the show you want to attend, and click on that date or logo for a direct link to the ETix site for that show.
Note that staff are still updating calenders for the 2012 season, so all links are not currently available. Active links are expected to be up by or after the open house event on Dec. 3.
An active link is now up for the final show of the 2011 season, John Berry's Joy to the World Christmas concert, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18. Tickets for that show range from $25 to $35 and are available at this link.
Tickets may also be purchased in person at the civic center office, located next to the Cedartown Public Library on East Avenue, Cedartown.
For additional information, contact the civic center office at (770) 748-4168.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information and a link.