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How The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Changes SF Concert Scene

April 23, 2014, 10:00 PM by Hailey Higgins

How The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Changes SF Concert Scene

Eric Church fans lined up for hours Friday, to snatch a seat at the first scheduled concert at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

Tickets went fast with only single seats left by the end of the day.

It's that kind of demand that new booking agent Chris Semrau hopes propels Sioux Falls into the national concert scene.

"The successes that we hope to have this fall will really impact what we will be able to do in 2015," Samrau said.

Construction on the multi-million dollar event center is scheduled to be completed this fall, but concert fans shouldn't expect many more acts to be stopping at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center this year.

"In many ways, 2014 season is done. What you have is what you have. We are focused on anything else we can get for the end of '14 but really focused on 2015," Semrau said.

Semrau says Sioux Falls offers pent-up demand for big-name concerts and events; a stable economy offers a ripe atmosphere for strong ticket sales. But there is one major drawback, according to Semrau. The medium-size of the event center may cause it to be overlooked.

"There is a total of about 12,000 seats for the facility, some of the major, major acts may not choose to play on the first round in Sioux Falls when they can go play in 20,000 seats in other markets," Semrau said.

Semrau adds the Sioux Falls geography may also be a hurdle. Being in the upper Midwest, Sioux Falls isn't connected to a large number of metropolitan areas. 

Jered Johnson disagrees.

The president of Pepper Entertainment says Sioux Falls' placement on the junction of I-29 and I-90 is a prime location for touring routes.

"They have to go through Sioux Falls, so that increases the probability of the act just because typically they are playing one of the bigger markets around Sioux Falls," Johnson said.

Johnson has brought musical acts to the area for the last eight years. He says more top-tier acts will come to the event center, but it may not be as often as some may think.

While the economy is strong for ticket sales, he says there aren't enough people to bring in A-list musicians on a regular basis.

"We don't have the mass amounts of population that some of the metro markets do to support bigger shows more often," Johnson said. "So I think that we will find out is that there will be a big challenge for us to have a large show like a Jason Aldean on a weekly or even a monthly basis just because the entertainment dollars will only go so far."

That being said, music lovers in the area hold a critical role in determining the number of concerts coming to Sioux Falls.

"Whether you are only waiting for the big shows or the more intimate settings, it's important that you get out and support live music period," Johnson said. "The same agents that got the smaller bands and the developmental bands have the tier-A bands."

"It's very simple, sales really drive your market," Semrau said. "If sales are strong, that will lead to more opportunities for event content in the community."

Both concert bookers agree, the additional venue will bring in more talent previously unseen in the state.

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