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Lower The Prices And They Will Come

NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — In an effort to bring fans back to the concerts, Nashville’s Starwood Amphitheater is reducing ticket fees and beer prices and relaxing its policies on items people can bring into concerts, according to the Nashville City Paper. The strategy may be a sign that Clear Channel, the owner of Starwood, may be looking to reverse its nationwide attendance slumps over recent years.

“I think that people will find that when they come to Starwood this year that it’s much more user-friendly,” Heather Story, manager of the facility, told the paper.

The changes come along with a host of fee reductions and other policy shifts being implemented by CCE-owned sheds across the country. The outdoor amphitheater concert business experienced a decade of nearly double-digit growth, until attendance began dropping rapidly. In 2003, attendance dropped 13 percent.

The downturn has been blamed on rising ticket fees associated with higher artists guarantees and other restrictions on attendance.

Since Michael Rapino took over as president of global music at CCE last year, the company has been rapidly retooling its policies, reducing ticket service charges and lawn ticket prices, and allowing people to bring in blankets to sit on the lawn.

Late last year, Clear Channel also separated its venue operations from its concert promotion business, renaming the later divisions to reflect their previous brands before Clear Channel acquired them. For instance, Starwood is now booked by Pace Concerts.

After seeing flat attendance from 2003 to 2004, Starwood had a one-day sale last year on tickets for $10 and sold 18,000 tickets for various performances. By comparison, Starwood’s sell-out capacity is 17,000, she said.

“The $10 ticket day really communicated to us as a company that people want to come to our amphitheater,” Story said. “They just couldn’t afford to, so our mindset now is, how can we make it affordable?”

Locally, Starwood has lowered its ticket service fees at the box office to $2.50 from $5.50, Story said. Admission price for lawn seating has been lowered to $20 for most performances, in contrast to the average lawn ticket price last year of $37, she said.

The price of a 16-oz. beer is being reduced to $5 from $8, and ticket holders are being allowed to bring in their own food now, as well blankets and legless stadium seats.

In addition, the Starwood staff has gone through extensive customer-service training to make attendance a more pleasurable experience, Story said.

The changes are fitting as Starwood is in its 20th anniversary, Story said. The facility has been undergoing a five-year process of cosmetic changes.

Five concerts have been announced for this season, including 3 Doors Down, Dave Matthews Band, Steven Curtis Chapman, Alan Jackson and Motley Crue. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers