We were very impressed with the PAC Live! event at the Ashland Riverfront a little more than a week ago.
Organizers initially offered up a guesstimate of about 1,200 fans attending the Ashland Riverfront for the rock concert. The event was presented by the Paramount Arts Center and featured Thunderstruck, which is a tribute to AC/DC. There were other bands as well including Devil’s Creek Special and 3 Days Under,
PAC Executive Director Holly Canfield said she was very pleased with the turnout.
“It was a good turnout for the first PAC LIVE! concert. The bands were awesome. We couldn’t ask for anything more. We didn’t have any troubles at all.”
Canfield told Daily Independent Lifestyles Editor Lee Ward that many of the ticket sales came from folks who showed up shortly before the event. Organizers said if the event broke even they would be happy.
We are writing this editorial today to commend Canfield, the board at the Paramount and the entire team that made PAC Live! possible. While the turnout is strong for Ashland, there is a bigger picture here, which is the success reallized in using one of Ashland's greatest assets, the riverfront, to hold events and improve quality of life in the city. Anyone who promotes concerts or tries to get festivals going knows the first event is very important and if you can get an event to break even that first time around, offering up a great experience, the people will come back next time as long as the artistic talent is viewed as worth their time and money.
“You don’t make money the first time with an event like this,” Canfield told Ward. “It’s an event you have to grow and we have a culture change we have to make in our community with regard to our riverfront. We’re used to free events down there. Many people weren’t expecting this to be a pay event.”
We have published before in this space our belief that Ashland will benefit greatly from doing everything possible, within reason, to promote the arts in the city and the Tri-State region. This includes creating a culture that fosters artist dens and business opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to take a chance on art and music-related businesses. The goal is to further artistic expression in the city. Another great development is imminent on this front with the not-too far-away arrival of three major sculptures coming to Ashland by world-renowned artist Gines Serran-Pagan.
We have pointed before in this space to the undeniable facts about the economic impact on the arts. We've noted The Project for Public Spaces which, in the Creative Community Builder's Handbook, listed five steps that can be taken to promote the arts in a community. They are:
— Promote interaction in public spaces.
— Increase civic participation through celebrations.
— Youth engagement.
—Promote the preservation of your community's most cherished public spaces.
—Broaden participation in civic engagement.
One thought we had for the future of concerts along the riverfront is if, some how, some way, organizers can bring in a truly big name talent -- the name Chris Stapleton was floated in our newsroom, or an artist of comparable stature who crosses musical boundaries and appeals to a diverse audience -- you could really see this take off. It's a big risk we think is worth taking especially if organizers can find a way to blunt the costs that come with bringing such a huge name in.
In the meantime we thank everyone involved for making PAC Live! happen. You have done something truly special for Ashland and the region.