How far out does the BancorpSouth Arena begin planning an event?
It depends on the event – we’re working on shows 24-36 months in the future while also booking events as little as six weeks out.
What is the process of booking an artist/act?
Again, it’s a mix of both. We’re constantly in contact with promoters and agents, reminding them of our success stories and letting them know the different configurations that we can utilize within the confines of the arena (anything from an intimate 1,800 seats to a full arena of 9,000+). Occasionally they call us first, but not many acts have Tupelo listed as a must-play city on their worldwide tours!
What are some of the qualities in an artist/act that you want to bring in?
As a publicly owned facility, we’re open to any promoter who wants to bring in a show (as long as it’s not illegal!). Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Tupelo and the surrounding areas, so we try to attract a diverse lineup of performers. At the same time this is the music “business," and our promoter partners are typically most interested in shows that will turn a profit.
You bring in a variety of different acts: music, sporting events, comedians and more. Is there one type of act that everyone just loves to host?
Each of us at the arena have different tastes in entertainment events. For the majority of us it doesn’t matter what’s on stage as long as the crowd is having a good time. That’s why we’re here.
What is the day of a show like? Walk us through the process of getting ready for the event.
Our operations, box office, marketing, and concessions departments have been working hard long before the first truck rolls up to the building at 7AM on a show day. Our crews will unload the trucks (anywhere from 1-25 semis full of equipment), set up the gear, and then set the floor seats if applicable. Meanwhile we’ll assist the show with anything they might need locally (doctors, golf courses, gyms, laundry services, etc.).
We’ll bring in our security and concessions crews, open the doors, and host our 9,000 guests for a memorable evening of entertainment. When the show is over we’ll pack up the gear, clean the building, and get ready to do it all over again with the next event.
Between booking an artist and the actual time they walk onto the stage what part is the busiest and most hectic?
Sometimes it’s the buildup to the ticket onsale, other times it’s the hours just before doors open for the show – each event is different.
How do you ensure show day runs like a well-oiled machine?
Practice, practice, practice. We have a great team with many years of experience. Our reputation with the touring shows is very positive and that helps make for a smooth show day. The key thing to a smooth show day is “no surprises” – we anticipate the needs of the show and make sure we’re ready for any contingency. We also make sure we’ve communicated any limitations of the facility (or the market) before the artist arrives so that they know what to expect.
How long does the usual clean up and break down after an event take?
This also depends on many factors. Concerts can be cleaned up overnight, whereas monster truck shows, rodeos, and ice events can take a bit longer.
Are some of the events, like the Monster Trucks, a bigger clean up job than a concert?
Absolutely. Our operations crew would tell you that it’s easier to clean dirt out of the building after the rodeo than it is to clean the tire marks off the concrete following a monster truck event.
Does the staff take time to enjoy the shows or are things usually too hectic for that?
We’ll usually catch 5-10 minutes of a show if we’re lucky. We all know that if we want to watch a show, we need to buy a ticket for a performance in another town!
How much of an importance is team effort in pulling off an event at the Arena?
It takes all of us working together to make this facility a success. Not only from our perspective in putting on the events, but also from the community buying tickets to what we are bringing in. Acts don’t want to play venues where they cannot be successful so the ticket-buying component is crucial!