The Show Me Center is gearing up for a fall season that includes such acts as Alison Krauss and Union Station, Larry the Cable Guy, Willie Nelson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
The first question out of many mouths will be "Where's the rock and roll?"
A good question, and one that has complex answers, especially in a college town with an identity crisis like Cape Girardeau.
Brad Gentry, marketing director of the Show Me Center, says the biggest misconception about the Show Me Center is that the arena can choose which music acts perform here.
"That's simply not true," Gentry says. "There are many factors that determine the types of shows we can get, including size of our facility, make-up of the community, whether a promoter is involved, and dates we have open.
"The size of the Show Me Center deters many acts from coming here. A smaller facility translates to higher ticket prices. Cape Girardeau is definitely not a city market. People think about how and where they will spend their money. If we have three shows in one month, families will choose to see one show, not all three."
Also a factor in decisions is the relationship between Southeast Missouri State University and the City of Cape Girardeau. Under an agreement with both parties, construction of the facility was a joint effort and the city does not assume any debt. The university is 100 percent financially responsible for the facility. The agreement also stipulates that the Show Me Center is run by a Board of Managers with equal representation from Southeast and the city.
Decisions are made by this Board. As a result, bookings are more fair.
Another unique aspect of the arena is athletics does not run the facility. Although Southeast basketball is the staple event, athletics cannot pick and choose which dates to book for games, because the Show Me Center must develop its own budget, it must generate profits with events.
Gentry says promoters also have a misconception about Cape: Cape is a college town. Gentry says that, yes, Cape is a college town but not in the same manner that Carbondale, Ill., or Columbia, Mo., are.
"Cape is more of a regional hub," Gentry explains. "Surrounding communities look to Cape for entertainment, dining, shopping, and employment. So, we have more support from families than we do from college students. Thus, country acts have more success at the Show Me Center than do rock acts."
When approached by a show promoter, Gentry and David Ross, Show Me Center Director, explain the dynamics of Cape and Southeast Missouri State, as well as the demographic breakdown of the area. The goal is to generate the best possible results for the promoter.
"We're known for our expertise and getting things accomplished," Gentry says. "For our market size, we're one of the most professional throughout the country."
There are three ways in which musical acts or shows come to the Show Me Center. On rare occasions, the Show Me Center will buy a show and act as the show's promoter. In these instances, the arena assumes all financial risks, including advertising, promotions, ticket sales, and fees to bring in the act.
Another way in which shows come to the arena is a co-promotion. With this type of arrangement, the Show Me Center donates the facility's fees and services. The promoter donates the talent fees and assumes advertising and ticket sales costs. Once both parties recoup expenses, profits are split according to an arranged contract.
Typically, a promoter is involved in bringing shows to the arena. In this arrangement, the promoter rents the Show Me Center, promotes the show, and assumes all financial risks, including advertising and ticket sales. The Show Me Center provides their services but assumes very little risk, instead reaping in financial benefits.
It's a safe bet, especially in a small market, where a crowd of 4,000 is an extreme success.