Morgan Wallen concert economic boon for Summit Arena, Black Hills | Local

Journal Staff Tanya Manus

Country singer Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous” tour was a smash hit for The Monument in Rapid City. The May 13 concert at Summit Arena drew fans from 48 states and four Canadian provinces and set new records.

“It was in many ways the greatest show of all time,” said Craig Baltzer, executive director of The Monument. “It was by far the most profitable show ever for everything from food and beverage sales to merchandise to truck count. (Waller’s crew) brought in 14 full semi-trucks of gear and 11 buses. It was the biggest show we’ve ever done and sold out.

Waller’s shows on his “Dangerous” tour sold out nationwide. Just seven months after the $130 million Summit Arena opened, Baltzer said Wallen’s concert proves the venue is up to the challenge of big events.

Summit Arena will accommodate up to 11,000 people. Although Waller’s stage and equipment took up some of the space that could have been used for seating, 10,325 fans purchased tickets and filled the Summit Arena.

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“They were able to max out the coin pretty much 100% as much as possible, Baltzer said.

After the show, Baltzer said Summit Arena was easy for fans to leave in about 20 minutes, and Wallen’s team was able to dismantle equipment and leave in less than two hours. It was a night when The Monument was also hosting a dental convention, a Western Dakota Tech graduation rehearsal, and dress rehearsals for the Prima School of Dance.

“That’s a lot of people to get out of the building so quickly, and that’s important. … After the gig is over (the team) has to dismount and load, so it’s important to get them up and running quickly,” Baltzer said. “If they can’t do that, they won’t come back and the officer handling them won’t direct them here.”

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender said the success of Morgan Wallen’s concert reinforces Summit Arena’s benefits to the city and surrounding region.

“In the two years leading up to the … new arena, we talked to people and told them about the problems with Barnett Arena, the problems with our aging facility and what a new arena would bring, and this concert in is a perfect example. what we were talking about,” Allender said.

The Barnett Arena drew constant criticism and “our reputation was ruined because we weren’t a proper facility for big gigs, so all of those issues were solved with the new arena,” he said. “The loading dock, the height of the ceiling, the overhead rigging for lights and speakers – all of that is what makes a great event.”

“It was people from all over the country who came to Rapid City, filled our hotel rooms, ate in our restaurants, shopped in our stores and visited our attractions, of which the concert was one of them, and it all happened. went very well,” said Allender.

Baltzer said Wallen was a rising star in country music “on a stronger trajectory than Kenny Chesney when he was coming up.” Wallen’s concert drew fans from more states than big names like Elton John and Miranda Lambert when they performed in Rapid City, Baltzer said.

“(Wallen) is one of the best touring country artists on the road today. We’re very lucky to have him. Hopefully this will open more doors for acts that don’t usually come to Rapid City. “, he said. “It was a great night. Everything shone perfectly. I want to thank my management team and we look forward to booking another event of this size as soon as possible. »

“Our Live Nation promotion office in Minneapolis called me at 10 p.m. Friday night to say they’ve heard good reports from their employees working the event in Rapid City and the team at Morgan Wallen. We showed them that we could run a full-scale show in Rapid City,” Baltzer said in an email to the city council on May 16.

Both Allender and Baltzer are thrilled with the gig, and the Black Hills have drawn people from all over the United States and Canada. Only about half of the audience at Morgan Wallen’s concert came from South Dakota.

“It was an engine of economic impact. When I talked to people from other places (at the concert) and asked ‘Why did you choose to come here?’ the answer was… the same,” Baltzer said. “They said, ‘I came to the Black Hills when I was a kid’ or ‘I’ve always heard of the Black Hills and it’s a great opportunity to go to a concert here. “”

Baltzer thinks more people want to travel to places they can explore for a few days while attending a big event.

“I think live entertainment is doing very well. People go out and travel,” Baltzer said. “I think people go on a four-day weekend adventure and they’re looking for more adventure. … We have this brand new arena that can accommodate a show like Morgan Wallen and we are at the foot of the beautiful Black Hills. We knew we would get some benefit out of it, and seeing the first concert of this level draw people from 48 states blew my mind. It’s incredible.”

A concert that drew visitors from 48 states and Canada is a big deal, Allender said.

“It’s important and it’s really an impressive thing, and we’ve succeeded because we’re here in the Black Hills and we’re already a tourist destination,” he said. “The concert was a great success.

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Corina C. Butler