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PromoWest Productions Celebrates 30 Years

Miranda Rife Miranda Rife PromoWest Productions Celebrates 30 YearsThe Newport Music Hall — Photo by Walker Evans.
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PromoWest Productions is celebrating their 30th anniversary throughout 2014. They have a long history of bringing great musical performances to Columbus, but where did it all begin?

In the early ‘80s, an Ohio State University graduate named Scott Stienecker was working as an intern for Bill Graham, a well-established rock promoter, in San Francisco. Stienecker heard through a friend that there were plans to close Columbus’ Agora Ballroom and decided to use his passion for concerts to save the venue. He moved back to Columbus and was able to secure several investors to purchase the building’s lease. In 1984 he was able to reopen the venue under the name we know today, Newport Music Hall. The first show, featuring Neil Young, sold out. Stienecker started it all and remains the President and CEO of PromoWest Productions.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Columbus was an open market in terms of concert promotion. Major promoters were covering Indianapolis and Cleveland, but nobody had made a move on Columbus before PromoWest. According to Becky Long, PromoWest’s Vice President of Sales and Brand Marketing, some of the major factors of PromoWest’s success over the years were “Developing and opening Polaris Amphitheater, producing the Rolling Stones at OSU Stadium, developing and opening the country’s first indoor/outdoor concert venue (originally the PromoWest Pavilion – now named The LC Pavilion),” and the fact that they have remained independent.

“Slowly but surely we will build our company,” Stienecker said in 1988. “Many have ideas, many pull off events, but PromoWest will always pull off events efficiently and professionally. Always remembering reputation means more than money. We will keep a good heart through the bad times, but always keep a good heart through the good times. Success and PromoWest should be synonymous.”

PromoWest opened The Polaris Amphitheater in 1994, which put Columbus on the map for major national tours. They then opened The LC Pavilion in 2001, The A&R Bar in 2003 and The Basement in 2005. Across their four Columbus venues, they produce over 500 events each year.

“In the 80s we had to fight for shows due to the competition with major tours going to the Cleveland and Cinci markets,” said Long. “However, by cultivating strong relationships with top booking agents, Stienecker and PromoWest has helped to establish Columbus as an important stop for many national tours.”

30th-anniversary

“Our focus has always been to bring Columbus the newest and most popular bands in music so our staff works diligently to find developing and trending bands that will fit the market,” added Long “Once we book the show, we develop a marketing plan to advertise through a variety of outlets that aligns with the band’s musical genre.”

In 2009, PromoWest launched their live music TV show PromoWest Live, where viewers can see live performances from PromoWest venues. In honor of their 30th, they’ll also be using the show to offer some insider looks into the concert business. The show airs weekly on NBC, right after Saturday Night Live. In addition to PromoWest’s Columbus venues, they also work in Pittsburgh. After the success of America’s first indoor/outdoor venue, The LC, PromoWest opened America’s second, Stage AE in Pittsburgh in 2010.

To celebrate their thirty years, PromoWest has a lot planned. On June 4th, Columbus had the opportunity to spend an Evening with Santana to help celebrate three decades of PromoWest. Ted Nugent will also help celebrate on July 24th. In addition to these great shows, PromoWest is offering lots of great ticket giveaways and opportunities to attend concerts as a VIP. They’ll be releasing a 30-year documentary, which will air on NBC4 this fall. PromoWest has also partnered with the Greater Columbus Arts Council to create an art exhibition, to be displayed on the side of the A&R Music Bar. Artists from Franklin County have submitted art trying to capture the three decades of rock and roll history in Columbus, and four winners will have their art displayed in 5′ x 8′ mural form. The public has a chance to vote for their favorites until June 15th, and the murals will be unveiled on September 1st.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers at Newport Music Hall, 1989.

For PromoWest, there are a lot of great accomplishments to look back on in their thirty years of rocking, and lots of great things to look forward to as well. They work hard to bring great bands, shows, and experiences to Columbus and Pittsburgh. Their business is making sure the rest of us can have a great time at one of their venues, and they have fun doing it.

“The best part of my job is working with our partners and sponsors to create unique experiences for our fans,” said Long. “I love finding ways to provide those special VIP moments for people that are so personal and memorable for them. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most talented and creative business professionals in this city to offer fans moments they won’t forget, well, depending on how much they’ve had to drink, of course.”

For more information, visit www.promowestlive.com.

The original logo The PromoWest Pavilion, before it became the LC.

 

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3 Responses to PromoWest Productions Celebrates 30 Years

  1. heresthecasey June 12, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm

    *Pittsburgh

  2. GraydonS June 13, 2014 8:48 am at 8:48 am

    I worked behind the bar at PromoWest and the basement, and still to this day it was probably the best job I’ve ever had. My favorite moment was when I was setting up the old pit satellite bar and it just was me and the sounds guys getting a private show of Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright doing their encore sound check for their cover of Careless Whispers. Hearing it at the end of the night with a packed house was the cherry on top. Thank you PromoWest Productions for bringing great music to Columbus!

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