CHARLESTON, W. Va. – A spate of announcements from the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center over the past few weeks has got fans of all entertainment genres excited about what’s ahead and a sign that the industry is coming back to life after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patrick Leahy, the general manager of the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center (CCCC), told MetroNews that now is the time for the entertainment industry as state and national guidelines for the virus relax and more people are vaccinated.
“Around February first, the industry saw the light at the end of the tunnel and started planning shows for the fall and next year,” Leahy said.
In the past week alone, CCCC officials announced that musical acts Lynyrd Skynyrd, Judas Preist and Foreigner, as well as comedian Jeff Foxworthy, were arriving in Charleston this fall.
It’s in addition to the planned comedian acts by Jim Gaffigan and Bert Kreischer and musical guests James Taylor, Jason Aldean, Aaron Lewis and Stateliners, The Avett Brothers, Brantley Gilbert and Chicago for this fall and winter.
Leahy, who also works for the facility as director of booking, said planning for the fall started with sourcing and negotiations in November 2020. He said the pace of activity has increased in recent months.
He praised the broader relationship of the new Management group of CCCC, Oak View, for shows quickly booked in Charleston once restrictions have been eased. He said there was more access to information about who’s on tour, what they’re trying to achieve, and how to make a compelling case for coming to Charleston.
“This market has a great history, has a great concert history. We tell the story of why Charleston, ”Leahy said.
For Leahy it is important that a community meeting place like the CCCC and its branches reflect the community. Event organizers have tried to offer a variety of programs to keep everyone interested.
“We are confident that we can attract a wide range of events, be it music, sports, family and more,” he said.
Aside from rock and country announced for the fall, the Charleston Municipal Auditorium is hosting a juneteenth celebration on June 18 with hip-hop artists Yung Bleu & Mooski. The officials are also enthusiastic about the ticket sales for Blippi, the musical for children.
From a sporting perspective, CCCC will host a nationwide televised basketball tournament (TBT) event from July 17-21. The games feature star college basketball program alumni, including WVU and Marshall, playing for $ 1 million on the ESPN family of networks.
Leahy said Charleston’s national presence is an important detail for future bookings and economic development.
“Companies looking for ways to do business in the market are looking for the same amenities and activities as other cities,” Leahy said.
Leahy said that from March 2020, when the pandemic started, to June this year, there were 127 events at the CCCC. But not many came with the excitement of these future events knowing there should be full crowds and live atmospheres.
The CCCC is aggressive Hire people to work on the events and facilities that are preparing for these much larger crowds.