Concerts, Broadway will return as COVID-19 changes schedules Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Broadway shows and major concerts will return to Sioux Falls but it will be a few months.

The Washington Pavilion has been able to reschedule most of its second half of March, and all of April and May events until later in the year, said Pavilion president and chief executive officer Darrin Smith.

The PREMIER Center has postponed and/or rescheduled 11 events since early March, said Rick Huffman, director of sales and public relations at the PREMIER Center. The remainder of the Sioux Falls Stampede season was canceled.

Courtesy of the PREMIER Center.

“It’s an unbelievable jigsaw puzzle in the entertainment world,” Smith said of rescheduling events. “It’s not uncommon to have shows and concerts book out for 12 to 18 months (in advance).”

When the Pavilion or another entertainment venue needs to reschedule an event or concert, it needs to coordinate possible dates with other venues and the performers, Smith said.

For example, the Pavilion was able to successfully reschedule the musical “BEAUTIFUL. The Carole King Story” from April 30 to Nov. 27 only after new dates had changed several times based on available dates at other venues, Smith said.

Huffman said the PREMIER staff continues to work on new dates for events.

“We anticipate that most, if not all, will reschedule,” Huffman said.

The fall through early spring is a busy season at both venues.

“While touring slows down in the summer – acts like to perform in outdoor venues – we have managed to do well during those months,” Huffman said.

While Broadway shows and concerts may not fill the Pavilion entertainment bill during the summer, educational classes fill June and July days, Smith said.

Today, he’s not sure all those classes will be held in June.

Smith said he conditionally expects the Pavilion could open to the public in some form in June, but he’s not counting on it.

A scene at the Washington Pavilion from 2019.

The COVID-19 information changes rapidly, which will impact when public venues like his can open, Smith said.

Meanwhile, entertainment venues aren’t generating much revenue, if any at all.

In Sioux Falls that means the city is losing out on revenue generated from the third penny sales and use tax.

It’s often referred to as the bed and booze tax. It’s the third penny or entertainment tax paid in Sioux Falls at businesses such as entertainment venues, bars, restaurants and motels. It’s also attached to tickets sold at movie theaters.

Shawn Pritchett, the finance director for the city of Sioux Falls, said COVID-19 has made the tax particularly vulnerable.

In an April 7 presentation to the Sioux Falls City Council, Pritchett said up to 85% of the sources for the entertainment tax will be negatively impacted by COVID-19.

In an interview with KELOLAND News, Pritchett said third penny, or the entertainment tax, helps pay for improvements at city-owned entertainment venues. Some improvement projects could be delayed if needed, Pritchett said.

The tax revenue helps with improvements at the Pavilion and also with security and daily cleaning and maintenance, Smith said.

But while entertainment venues aren’t generating the typical entertainment tax revenue now, Pritchett said some of that revenue will return when events are rescheduled.

“It’s not all lost revenue,” Pritchett said.

Still, Smith said there is the definite possibility that not all the revenue will return with rescheduled events and when venues could more fully open in the fall.

Another large recession is likely, Smith said, which will impact people’s spending.

And venues may be opening under certain restrictions on capacity or drawing smaller crowds as people still adjust from COVID-19, Smith said.

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