September 20, 2006
Big name acts and Augusta, Georgia.
Some people think the two don't go together.
But right after a big name country music star pulls out, some promoters say big-time acts are willing to play Augusta...you just have to have all the right circumstances.
A day after Martina McBride pulled out of her performance at the Rockin' Rib & Music Fest, questions remain as to whether Augusta can get big names to come here.
It's been four years since the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and Botanical Gardens has even used the field behind their property. They were hoping a big name act like McBride would be the start of a new beginning for them, but now they're back to square one.
"If you build it they will come..."
Or at least, that's what local promoters say.
"Give people a reason to come at a price they can afford, and they'll come in groves," says Elizabeth Norris, owner of Tix Online.
Just look at Border Bash. Every year, thousands of Georgia and Carolina fans show their support at the event.
Snagging big name artists doesn't seem to be a problem either--take Elton John for example. He was here 7 years ago. His tickets went for $75 apiece, and those sold out in a matter of minutes.
So if ticket price is not the issue, what would make Martina McBride pull out less than a week away from her scheduled performance?
Sources tell News 12 advance ticket sales were slower than expected, topping out roughly around 900. But organizers are staying tight lipped.
Norris tells us the lack of advance ticket sales could have been a factor.
"With this show, no discount, so sales will be slow initially," she said.
Other factors include the fact that McBride was expected to go on stage alone, in an outdoor venue with steep ticket prices.
"To come up with $50 tickets, is it going to rain?" Norris said. "People will wait...we see it every year."
Robyn Jarrett, the director of marketing at the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, says it was McBride's star power that encouraged the state to give $25,000 of taxpayer money to back the festival...hoping to keep headliners in the Peach State from traveling to other cities.
"Unfortunately we all have egg on our face, regardless of who's accountable. We were the site; by association we're having to answer those questions," Jarrett said.
Jarrett tells us that despite the latest setback, they're going to continue to try host more big events.