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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

SPAC-tacular Summer Season Could Break Records

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) kicked off their summer concert season with a sold-out Zac Brown concert Friday, June 1, and with 22 other major performances on the calendar, the 2012 SPAC season is primed to become one for the record books.

“We’re very happy that our season looks like we’ll be having 23 concerts, and our partnership with Live Nation is something that’s incredibly important for us,” said Marcia J. White, president and executive director of SPAC. “We’re very excited. I think we’re going to have a great season all the way around.”
During a recent press conference Thursday, May 31, White also indicated that she is “optimistic [attendance] is going to reach a record number” for the season.
And SPAC, who is continuing their partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, has every reason to be optimistic. Their first summer concert of the year, headlined by the Zac Brown Band, sold out to get the season rolling. This weekend, the Dave Matthews Band, which returns to the venue after a one-year hiatus, has sold out Saturday’s performance, leaving only a handful of lawn tickets left for Friday’s show.
With SPAC’s maximum ticket sales per concert capped at approximately 25,200, that means almost 75,000 attendees have signed on to visit the venue in just one week’s time.
And that only takes into account the first three performances of the year. Still to come are shows by the Beach Boys, Drake, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Phish and more.
“It’s very difficult to really secure the caliber of talent that Live Nation has gotten for us this year,” said White. “Dave Matthews Band is one of the biggest, fastest-selling concerts in the Northeast,” she added, “so brining these kinds of performers to SPAC really works out well for us.”
With so many high-profile performers coming to SPAC, Live Nation’s New York regional president Jim Koplik also believes SPAC is set to break attendance records for the season.
“We’re forecasting record numbers,” said Koplik, assuming the weather cooperates for the season. “I think Marcia White is 100 percent correct. I think we will have the highest season attendance, at least in [Live Nation’s] history at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.”
Live Nation began their partnership with SPAC in 2000.
Traditionally, booking larger acts to visit the upstate New York region - unlike major cities like Boston or New York City - can be somewhat of a challenge, Koplik indicated.
“It’s always difficult because we’re not a major market,” said Koplik. “But Saratoga’s got a great history, and the facility itself has a wonderful atmosphere. It’s just a beautiful state-park-atmosphere that artists like Phish really appreciate.”
Phish, who will perform at SPAC from July 6-8, is the first-ever act of its kind to play three nights running a the venue.
“This is unique for us, and it’s also unique for Phish,” said Koplik. “I don’t think there are too many places they play three nights in a row. They’re looking at this state as a regional play. There’s no Connecticut play; there is no other upstate New York play and no Vermont play.”
Which means the concert, along with several others this season, has the potential to draw thousands of concert-goers from out-of-town to the Saratoga region.
“Our Jazz Festival at SPAC and the Live Nation events as well fill the local restaurants and the hotels prior to track season,” said White.
In 2005, the New York State Council of the Arts conducted a study that said SPAC generates about $90 million of economic activity in the Saratoga region.
“We estimate that it’s at least $100 million today,” said White. “It’s  patronage in the restaurants, hotel rooms, shopping and people enjoying other venues and other arts. We are able to generate a lot of money and a lot of tourism dollars here.”
So with SPAC ready to smash attendance records, the rest of Saratoga Springs stands to benefit as well.
To learn more about SPAC or to purchase tickets for their summer line-up, visit www.SPAC.org.

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