Plan a concert getaway

spalisin@thesunnews.comJanuary 3, 2013 

  • If you go Surcharges might apply to ticket purchases. IN SOUTH CAROLINA Florence Civic Center Where | 3300 West Radio Drive, at Interstates 95 and 20; from Myrtle Beach, take U.S. 17 west through Florence, and veer right on David H. McLeod Boulevard, the I-20 spur, and turn left at the third or fifth traffic light. Who/what, when and how much | • Eighth annual “Kids Jamboree,” 9 a.m-6 p.m. Jan. 26 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 27. $6 each. • “Civil War Voices: A Musical Remembrance,” 7 p.m. Jan. 28. $10. • TNA Impact Wrestling Road to Lockdown Tour, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1. $15, $35, or $75 (which includes an early autograph session at 5:30 p.m.). • “Willie Nelson and Family,” 8 p.m. Feb. 9. $35.50-$59.50. • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus “Fully Charged, Gold Edition,” 7 p.m. Feb. 14-16, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 16, and 1 and 5 p.m. Feb. 17. $20-$35, and $10 children. • Luke Bryan, with Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line, 7:30 p.m. March 21. $25.25 or $50. Tickets | 800-745-3000 and www.ticketmaster.com Information | 679-4525 or www.florenceciviccenter.com North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center Where | 5001 Coliseum Drive, between International Boulevard and Montague Avenue, off Interstate 526, one exit west of I-26. Who/what, when and how much | • S.C. Carolina Stingrays hockey ( www.stingrayshockey.com), Double-A East Coast Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, in coliseum, at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 15, 18, 19, 25 and 26; Feb. 8, 9, 13, 22, 23 and 26; and March 1, 2, 8, 9 and 22; and 3:05 p.m. Jan. 6, 20 and 27, and March 10. $8-$21 in advance, $1 more on game day. • Ron White 7:30 p.m. Friday in arts center. $47.75-$67.75. • U.S. Air Force Tops in Blue band, 7 p.m. Wednesday in arts center. Free general admission, first-come, first-served. • Blue Man Group, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 and 2 p.m. Jan. 12-13 in arts center. Evenings $42, $62 or $72, matinees $42, $57 or $72. •  “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 in coliseum. Advance: $20-$30 ages 13 and older, $10 ages 2-12; and $2 more on day of show. •  “Music of Stage and Screen” by North Charleston Pops, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 in arts center. $15-$35. • “An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams,” 8 p.m. Jan. 25 in arts center. $59-$129. • “The Price Is Right Live!” 8 p.m. Feb. 1 in arts center. $38-$50. • Rodney Carrington, 8 p.m. Feb. 9 in arts center. $42.75. • Rascal Flatts, with The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in coliseum. Ticket sales start Jan. 11. •  “Yo Gabba Gabba: Get the Sillies Out!” 2 and 5 p.m. Feb. 17 in arts center. $18-$48 ages 1 and older. • “Les Miserables,” 7:30 Feb. 19-24 and 2 p.m. Feb. 23-24 in arts center. $50-$80. • Jake Shimabukuro, 8 p.m. March 1 in arts center. $22.50-$42.50. • “Teen Choice Live! – The Tour,” with U.S. Olympics gymnastics champions Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, 7 p.m. March 13 in coliseum. $29-$109. • “Lord of the Dance,” 8 p.m. March 16 in arts center. $39-$57. •  “Music of the Beatles” by North Charleston Pops, 7:30 p.m. March 23 in arts center. $15-$35. • B.B. King, 8 p.m. April 23 in arts center. $49-$119. • Little Big Town, with David Nail, 8 p.m. May 9. $27.50-$37.50. Tickets | 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 529-5000 or www.northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com Colonial Life Arena Where | 801 Lincoln St., Columbia Who/what, when and how much | • Miranda Lambert, with Dierks Bentley and Sumter native Lee Brice, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17. $27 or $51.75. • “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8-9 and 2 p.m. Feb. 8, Advance: $22-$42 ages 13 and older, $7 ages 2-13 “Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival,” 4 and 7 p.m. Feb. 22. $20-$47 ages 2 and older. • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, 7 p.m. March 7-9, 10:30 a.m. March 8, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 9, and 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. March 10. $17-$74 – and $15 opening night special available. • Carrie Underwood, 7:30 p.m. April 17. $43.50-$63.50, from which $1 of every ticket goes to the American Red Cross. • Kenny Chesney, with Zac Brown Band, 5 p.m. May 4 *** at University of South Carolina Williams Brice Stadium. $31.50-$227. Tickets | 855-456-2849 or www.lmctix.com Information | 803-576-9200 or www.coloniallifearena.com Bi-Lo Center Where | 650 N. Academy St., Greenville Who/what, when and how much | • Greenville Road Warriors (www.greenvilleroadwarriors.com), Double-A East Coast Hockey League affiliate of the New York Rangers. Games 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Jan. 11, 12, 17 and 19; Feb. 7, 9, 14, 16 and 18; March 1, 2, 28 and 29; and 4 p.m. Feb. 24, March 3. Advance: $9-$15, $25 at box office; $1 more on game day. • Black Watch and the Band of the Scots Guard, 8 p.m. Jan. 22. $20-$45. • “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26 and 2 p.m. Jan. 26. Advance $31 or $51, and $2 more on day of show. • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus “Built to Amaze,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30-Feb. 1; 10 a.m. Feb. 1; 11 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 2-3; and 7 p.m. Feb. 2. $10-$90. •  “Winter Jam,” including TobyMac, RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets and Royal Tailor, 7 p.m. Feb. 8. $10 at door. • Kid Rock, with Buckcherry and Hellbound Glory, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16. $30-$89. • Mike Epps, with Doug E. Fresh and Gary Owen, 7 p.m. Feb 17. $45.50-$53.50. • George Strait, with Martina McBride, 7:30 p.m. March 22. $70.50 or $90.50. • Carrie Underwood, 7:30 p.m. April 16. $43.50-$63.50. • Jason Aldean, with Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, 7:30 p.m. May 16. Ticket sales start Jan. 11. Tickets | 800-653-8000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 864-467-0008 or www.bilocenter.com IN NORTH CAROLINA Greensboro Coliseum Complex Where | 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro, N.C.; from Interstate 73/U.S. 220 north, follow U.S. 220 as it turns into Freeman Mill Road, then cross I-85 and proceed for about two more miles, then left on Ellington Street. Who/what, when and how much | • Blue Man Group, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-next Thursday in War Memorial Auditorium. $55-$65. •  “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 in coliseum. Advance: $20-$25 ages 13 and older, $5 ages 2-12; $2 more day of show. • Teen Choice Live! The Tour, with U.S. Olympics gymnastics champions Gabrielle Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, with musicians Megan & Liz, Jan. 18 in coliseum; ticket sales to be announced. • Justin Bieber, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in coliseum. $39.50-$79.50. • Rodney Carrington, 8 p.m. Jan. 24 in auditorium. $44.75. • Zac Brown Band, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 in coliseum. $45-$69.50. • “The Price is Right Live!” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in auditorium. $32-$42 ages 13 and older, $27-$37 ages 2-12. • Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6-7; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 7; 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8; 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Feb. 9, and 1 and 5 p.m. Feb. 10 in coliseum. $8-$85. • Rascal Flatts, with The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in coliseum. $24.75 and $54.75. • Bill Cosby, 8 p.m. Feb. 22 in auditorium. $45-$75. • Kid Rock, with Buckcherry and Hellbound Glory, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in coliseum. $29.50-$89.50. • The Royal Comedy Tour, with Sommore, Earthquake Tony Rock and J. Anthony Brown, 7 p.m. March 8 in auditorium $42.50 or $49.50. • Lady Gaga, 7 p.m. March 18 in coliseum. $49.50-$175. • Harlem Globetrotters, 7 p.m. March 22 in coliseum. $20-$96. • George Strait, with Martina McBride, 7:30 p.m. March 23 in coliseum. $72.50 or $92.50. • Cirque du Soleil “Quidam,” 7:30 p.m. April 17-20, 3:30 p.m. April 20, and 1 and 5 p.m. April 21 in coliseum. Ticket sales begin Feb. 15: $40 and up ages 13 and older, $28 and up ages 2-12. • Third Day, with Colton Dixon and Josh Wilson, 7 p.m. April 20 in coliseum Special Events Center. $25-$75. • Rod Stewart, with Steve Winwood, 7:30 p.m. April 27 in coliseum. $29.50-$149.50. • Jason Aldean, with Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, May 18 in coliseum. Ticket sales begin Jan. 11. Tickets | 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 336-373-7400 or www.greensborocoliseum.com PNC Arena Where | 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. From I-95, take I-40 west to Exit 290 to N.C. 54. Who/what, when and how much | • Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus “Dragons,” 7 p.m. Feb. 6-8 and 10; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 9-10, and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9. Feb. 6-7: $15-$105 (opening night $13 special available); Feb. 8-10: $15-$110, • Harlem Globetrotters, 7 p.m. March 1. $21-$133, and military discount available. • “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. March 15-16, and 2 p.m. March 16. Advance: $25-$40 ages 13 and older, discounts of $10 and $4 off $25 seats for off $25 for ages 2-12 and active military, respectively. All tickets $2 more on day of show. • Eric Clapton with The Wallflowers, 7:30 p.m. April 3. $46-$86. • “Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music,” 10:30 a.m. May 31 and June 1; 7 p.m. May 31; 2 p.m. June 1-2; and 5:30 p.m. June 1. Ages 2 and older: $15-$35, and $60, with opening night $12 special available. • One Direction, 7:30 p.m. June 22. $29.50-$79.50. Tickets | 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 919-861-2300 or www.thepncarena.com Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts Where | 2 E. South St., Raleigh, N.C., between Salisbury and Wilmington streets, five blocks south of the N.C. State Capitol. • Mike Epps, 7 p.m. Jan. 18 in Memorial Auditorium. $44.50 or $55.50. • Bryan Adams “Bare Bones Tour: Solo and Acoustic,” 8 p.m. Jan. 22 in Meymandi Concert Hall. $45-$75. •  “Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries,” 6 p.m. Jan. 25; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Jan. 26-27; and 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in Memorial Auditorium. $14-$67. • Sixth annual Raleigh Blues Festival, with Mel Waiters, TK Soul, Roy C, Theodis Ealey, Clarence Carter, Shirley Brown and Maurice Wynn, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 in Memorial Auditorium. $42.50 and $49.50. •  “Yo Gabba Gabba: Get the Sillies Out!”3 and 6 p.m. Feb. 18 in Memorial Auditorium. $18-$40. • Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang, 8 p.m. Feb. 20 in Memorial Auditorium. $39-$55. • Royal Comedy Tour, with Bruce Bruce, Sommore, J. Anthony Brown and Mary Curry, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 in Memorial Auditorium. $47.50 or $55. •  “America’s Got Talent Live – All-Stars Tour,” including Olate Dogs, Eugene Landau Murphy, Eric Dittelman, Spencer Horsman and Anna Graceman, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Memorial Auditorium. $40.50-$76. • Kenny G with N.C. Symphony Pops, 8 p.m. March 1-2 and 3 p.m. in Meymandi Concert Hall. $28-$89. • The Gibson Brothers, 8 p.m. March 1 at Fletcher Opera Theater. $27-$29. • “Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale,” 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. March 1; 11 a.m. March 2-3; 5 p.m. March 2; and 2 p.m. March 3 in Memorial Auditorium. $14-$47. • Johnny Mathis, 8 p.m. March 7 in Memorial Auditorium. $47-$97. • Jim Gaffigan, 7 p.m. March 16 in Memorial Auditorium. $41.75-$51.75. • Boyz II Men, with the N.C. Symphony, 7:30 p.m. March 28 in Meymandi Concert Hall. $38-$89. • Del McCoury, 8 p.m. April 4 in Meymandi Concert Hall. $27-$37. • Lalah Hathaway, with Nicholas Cole, 7:30 p.m. April 6 in Meymandi Concert Hall. $47-$57. • Weird Al Yankovic, 8 p.m. April 10 in Memorial Auditorium. $37-$49. • “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, Kids,” 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. April 12; 11 a.m. April 13-14; 5 p.m. April 13; and 2 p.m. April 14 in Memorial Auditorium.$14-$47. Tickets | 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 919-996-8700 or www.progressenergycenter.com Crown Center – Coliseum, Theatre and Arena Where | 1960 Coliseum Drive, Fayetteville, N.C. Who/what, when and how much | • Fayetteville FireAntz (www.fireantzhockey.com), in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Games 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10, 12, 18, 19 and 29; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 23; and March 12, 15, 16, 19; and 4 p.m. Jan. 13 and Feb. 10. Each $11-$22. • Styx, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19. $32-$65. • “Monster X Tour Monster Trucks,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26. $18-$40. • TNA Impact Wrestling, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2. $15-$75. •  “Winter Jam,” including TobyMac, RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets and Royal Tailor, 7 p.m. Feb. 7. $10 at door. • Rodney Carrington, 8 p.m. Feb. 7. $39.75. •  “Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ” 8 p.m. Feb. 9. $25-$45. • Kool & the Gang, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23. $26-$50. • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus “Fully Charged,” 7 p.m. Feb. 28, March 1-2, 3 p.m. March 2, 11 a.m. March 2, 1 p.m. March 3, and 5 p.m. March 3. Ticket sales start Jan. 11. • Luke Bryan, with Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line, 7:30 p.m. March 22. $25.24-$50. •  “American Girl Fashion Show,” 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 23, and 1 and 5 p.m. March 24. $35-$60. • Harlem Globetrotters, 7 p.m. March 27. $17-$56. • Ricky Skaggs, noon April 12. Ticket sales start soon. Tickets | 800-653-8000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 910-438-4100 or www.crowncoliseum.com Time Warner Cable Arena Where | 333 E. Trade St., Charlotte, N.C. Who/what, when and how much | • Charlotte Bobcats basketball (www.nba.com/bobcats). Games each $10-$349: Games 7 p.m.: Friday, Wednesday, and Jan. 15, 19 and 23; Feb. 8, 11, 20, 22 and 23; March 6, 8, 18, 20, 23 and 27; and April 3, 5, 13 and 15. Also, 2 p.m.: Jan. 21; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26; and 8 p.m. April 17. • Charlotte Checkers hockey (www.gocheckers.com/home), Triple-A American Hockey League affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes of Raleigh. Games each $15-$100: 1:30 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Jan. 16, 17 and 25; Feb. 9; March 4, 13, 15, 26, 29 and 30; and April 11 and 12; 5 p.m. Jan. 20 and March 3. Also noon Jan. 26; 3 p.m. Feb. 10, March 10 and 17, and April 7; and 7:30 p.m. April 6. • “Winter Jam,” including TobyMac, RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets and Royal Tailor, 6 p.m. Saturday. $10 at door. •  “Monster Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 12. $25-$50. • Justin Bieber, 7 p.m. Jan. 22. $69.50 or $85. • Jeff Dunham, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24. $47.50. • Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus “Dragons,” 7 p.m. Jan. 30-Feb. 2; 10:30 a.m. Feb. 1; and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 2-3. $10-$100. • Bon Jovi, 7:30 p.m. March 5. $19.50-$139.50. • Pink, 8 p.m. March 16. $29.50-$99.50. • Taylor Swift, with Ed Sheeran, 7 p.m. March 22. $31.50-$86.50. • Harlem Globetrotters, 1 p.m. March 23. $23-$129. • Eric Clapton, with The Wallflowers, 7:30 p.m. April 2. $66 or $86. Tickets | 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com Information | 704-688-9000 or www.timewarnercablearena.com 33rd annual N.C. Jazz Festival When | 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-9 • Feb. 7 – “Jazz Strings” performances, including a duet with Bucky Pizzarelli and Jonathan Russell, followed by a tribute to “Charlie Parker with Strings.” • Feb. 8-9 – Seven sets each night, by 16 musicians including Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Adrian Cunningham (sax), Ed Polcer (trumpet/coronet), Kevin Dorn (drums), Nicki Parrott (bass, vocals), Banu Gibson (vocals), Rossano Sportiello (piano), Chuck Redd (drums/vibraphone) and Bria Skonberg (trumpet/vocals). Where | Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N. Water St., Wilmington, N.C. How much | $15-$50 nightly Information | 910-793-1111 or www.ncjazzfestival.com Raiford G. Trask Coliseum Where | University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Road. From the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge on U.S. 74/76/Dawson Street, continue for about 1.5 miles, and bear right to Oleander Drive, and drive for 2.5 miles, then at U.S. 132, turn left on College Road. Go for one mile north, then turn right at traffic light on Hurst Drive to reach the campus. Take the first left, on Wagoner Drive to access coliseum, on right. Who | Harlem Globetrotters When | 7 p.m. March 29 How much | $25-$72 Information | 910-962-7536 or www.uncwsports.com/tickets/TicketHome.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=19800 IN SAVANNAH, GA. Where | Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. Who/what, when and how much | • “FMX Superman Jam,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11-12 in Martin Luther King Arena. $18-$24 adults; and $6 children Jan. 11, $10 Jan. 12 • “Cinderella” by State Ballet Theatre of Russia, 3 p.m. Jan. 13 in Johnny Mercer Theatre. $28-$48. • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus “Fully Charged,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23-25, 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Jan. 26, and 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Jan. 27 in King Arena. $20-$35; $10 opening night seats available. • “Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot,’ ” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in Mercer Theatre. $32.50-$55. • “An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams,” with David Steinberg, 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in Mercer Theatre. $45-$125, and $250 and $450. • “Snow White” by Columbia City Ballet, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Mercer Theatre. $18-$35. • Fifth annual Savannah Blues Festival, 6 p.m. March 3 in Mercer Theatre. $39-$45. • Jerry Seinfeld, 7 p.m. March 7 in Mercer Theatre. $47.50-$77.50. • Shinedown and Three Days Grace, with P.O.D., 7 p.m. March 12 in Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. $25-$45.50, and $129. • Matchbox Twenty, with Matt Hires, 7:30 p.m. March 12 in Mercer Theatre. $39.50-$74.50. • “Lord of the Dance,” 7:30 p.m. March 13 in Mercer Theatre. $25-$52.50. • Harlem Globetrotters, 7 p.m. March 14 in King Arena. $17-$81. • Celtic Woman, 8 p.m. May 3 in Mercer Theatre. $40-$99. • Blue Man Group, 7:30 p.m. May 13-14 in Mercer Theatre. $27.50-$55. Tickets | 912- 651-6556, 800-351-7469 or www.etix.com/ticket/online/ Information | 912-651-6550 or www.savannahga.gov/index.aspx?NID=604

Weird Al Yankovic, Kenny G, Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, the Zac Brown Band and “The Price Is Right Live” have one thing in common: They’re all out-of-town concerts and shows this winter.

Such tours, for which stops cannot be scheduled in Myrtle Beach because of conflicts with dates or a need for bigger halls, turn up in bigger cities across the Carolinas. Getting away for an overnighter to catch a show could be just the ticket for something special to do with family and friends, and still plan a trip that could end up a bargain compared with flying to a metropolis.

Florence’s reach

Willie Nelson and Luke Bryan will play the Florence Civic Center on Feb. 9 and March 21, respectively. Kendall Wall, general manager of the venue, said booking those two acts helps kick off 2013 in a big way to lead to the civic center’s 20th anniversary.

Wall, who worked at the Crown Center in Fayetteville, N.C., at its opening in 1997, said Marie Osmond opened the Florence Civic Center with a gala in August 1993, then Reba McEntire gave the first concert the next day.

For lining up artists, “a lot of this is just being persistent and everything happening to fall in place,” Wall said.

“Sometimes, you’re lucky and the stars line up for you, so to speak,” he said, calling the confirmation of Nelson’s night the reward from a “two-year process.”

Live Nation, “the largest producer of live shows,” Wall said, will bring the Bryan tour to Florence, with Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line opening.

Wall said the civic center, with 10,000 seats, “draws really well from Myrtle Beach, especially “with our family shows” such as “Disney on Ice” and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Snagging a “Cirque du Soleil” show in summer 2011 also proved the luck of “routing in” something special.

“They played RBC Center in Raleigh and then were headed to South Beach in Miami,” Wall said. “Florence happened to fall in between those dates.”

Wall said often, tours might just commit one to three shows across North and South Carolina, but the civic center hit the jackpot in November with Lady Antebellum’s fall tour, its only stop in either state.

He gauged the civic center’s radius going northwest to Pageland, then east into North Carolina, crossing Laurinburg, Lumberton, Whiteville and Wilmington, then southwest through the Grand Strand to Georgetown and Manning, and back up to Florence through Bishopville.

Although “it’s not a true circle,” Hall said, the civic center sits in the center of hefty region, with an easy drive, and “easy to get in and out” of for commuters.

Columbia’s centrality

The Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, with 18,000 seats, marked its first decade in November. Abey Foster, director of sales and marketing, said how far people travel for an event there “really depends on the show.” Family attractions tend to keep a smaller radius because they often also stop in North Charleston and Greenville.

For big stars, such as Miranda Lambert, coming Jan. 17, Carrie Underwood April 17, and Justin Bieber Aug. 5, turnout extends from neighboring states, Foster said.

She remembered Columbia snagging Prince for his only Carolinas show in 2004, but when he returned in 2011, he scheduled other regional stops.

“Generally, people will go to whatever arena is closest to them,” Foster said, counting up to a two-hour drive as Colonial Life’s overall draw, based on ZIP-code data gathered after shows.

“The great thing about Columbia is we’re in the center of the state,” she said. We’re very lucky geographically.”

Foster also expressed another key factor in keeping up “a little bit of everything” in diversity of music artists and shows, coupled with University of South Carolina basketball games. Arena management stays in touch with major and regional promoters, whether scouting for bookings a year or two in advance or hooking up with a tour on short notice, which is still a bonus.

“In this industry,” Foster said, “it’s really all about relationships.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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