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Rock’n’Roll At Sarasota’s Big Top

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Sarasota, Florida’s landmark big top circus tent will enter a new era when it hosts legendary rock band Foreigner on February 12th.

The PAL Sailor Circus Arena, a training facility for future members of the big show, hopes to begin renting out the venue 60 to 70 times per year once some key improvements, such as air conditioning, are completed.

“It will be our first rock concert, and we’re real excited,” Jim Shirley, the PAL Sailor Circus director of development, told the Bradenton Herald. “We think Foreigner represents the kind of entertainment that this venue can fit well. We offer a very intimate setting and the acoustics are excellent.”

Sailor Circus, which is south of downtown Sarasota, recently launched a capital campaign with a goal to raise $6 million for renovations of the 30,000-square-foot facility. Planned improvements include replacing the roof and seating, as well as adding new restrooms and a second building that will house a circus museum, dressing rooms and an upstairs gymnasium, which will be used to accommodate the youths when the arena is occupied.

“The circus is very important to the Gulf Coast background,” Shirley told the paper. “We’re going to keep that circus imprint.”

The PAL Sailor Circus partnered up with local concert promoter Barb Strauss, who handles the annual Sarasota Blues Festival and local concerts along with Fantasma Productions.

“Fantasma and I are paratnering to try and create a new concert arena here,” Strauss told the paper. “We wanted people to to leave the Foreinger show and say, ‘When’s the next show?’”

The venue has a total capacity of 2,300, which places it below the Robarts Arena at the Sarasota Fairgrounds, which holds 3,500, in size. It is larger than the nearby Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall which seats 1,761. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers