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The Scoop - Would we pay $70 for show at Park?
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We know local residents will pay $150 to see Kid Rock in Nashville and $300 to see Justin Timberlake.
The question is how much will people pay to see entertainment at the Park Theater?

So far, Park Theater ticket prices have lingered in the $20 to $25 range, give or take a few dollars. The entertainment has been commensurate with the ticket price.

There's nothing wrong with that and I'm not here to disparage the many fine performers who have graced the Park Theater stage over nearly three years. My point is to ask if it's perhaps time to lure some more mid-level bands to the Park, which would result in some more mid-level ticket prices.

Would you pay $50 to see The Oak Ridge Boys at the Park? How about $70 a ticket to see The Doobie Brothers?

We're willing to pay well north of $100 a ticket to see a concert somewhere else. Would we ever pay $100 to see a show in McMinnville?

"We have to grow to get there," said Park Theater manager Kevin Roberts. "Maybe it's something where I can talk the board into one big show a year and give a band like Kansas or Boston a try."

That would certainly bring buzz to McMinnville and there's something special about seeing a band in a smaller venue that can't be captured when seeing a concert at Bridgestone Arena. Exile keyboard player Marlon Hargis talked about this when I interviewed him Wednesday.

"When you're playing to 5,000 or 10,000, you're not relating personally to people. It's just a crowd," said Hargis. "It's totally different when people are sitting 10 feet away and you're often having conversations in between songs."

Being cozy does have its drawbacks, the main one being money. With some 500 seats at the Park Theater, there's no way to compare to the likes of 20,000-seat Bridgestone Arena. At $20 a ticket, a sellout at the Park would bring $10,000. It would bring $400,000 at Bridgestone Arena.

There are also problems with doing the math based on a sellout, according to Roberts. "Everybody always tells us their band will sell out, but that doesn't always happen."

Roberts has worked hard developing a 2018 lineup that's nearly full and is taking steps toward bigger names.

Big Smo is a country rapper who has gained recent attention and he'll be performing at the Park on March 9.
Little Texas was a red hot country band in the 1990s with No. 1 singles and Grammy nominations. Little Texas will perform at the Park on May 4. The renowned Glenn Miller Orchestra, which performs around the world, will be at the Park later in the year.

There's no doubt Park Theater revitalization has been a glowing success, an apple pie bursting with flavor for our community. It was Casey Kasem who always reminded us to "reach for the stars" during his weekly Top 40 countdown.

When it comes to the Park Theater, I think it's time to test the waters and see just how high we can reach.  
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.