VENUE UPDATES: I.M.P Exec Exits For Law School … And Much More!

Liz Drogula, promoter/marketing director at Seth Hurwitz' IMP concert promotion company in Washington, DC, has left after a seven-year stint to enter law school. After obtaining her degree, she plans to return to the industry.

Taking Drogula's place is Donna Westmoreland, former 9:30 Club general manager, who returns to I.M.P. after departing five years ago to tour with Lilith Fair.

2002 JVC Jazz Festival–New York Deemed Most Successful Ever

The 2002 JVC Jazz Festival–New York was the most successful JVC festival ever held in New York, according to George Wein, CEO of Festival Productions, Incorporated, and producer of JVC Jazz Festivals around the world. "This year's festival sold 90% of the tickets at seven Carnegie Hall concerts and reached 99% capacity in attendance," said Wein. "The JVC Jazz Festival is an outgrowth of the Newport Jazz Festival, which came to New York 30 years ago, and since then, has become the standard for urban concert-style jazz festivals."

Concerts at Carnegie Hall included stellar performances by Michael Feinstein and a 70-piece orchestra, the final performance of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, João Gilberto, Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock & Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker & Roy Hargrove and Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta II.

"Promoters come from around the world to see what artists we present, and in some cases, bring them to their own festivals," continued Wein. It's amazing that we have lasted for three decades, but it's a good feeling to know that the festival still means something to New York City."

In addition to Carnegie Hall, concerts were held at the Beacon Theatre, the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, Apollo Theater, Bryant Park, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Studio Museum in Harlem, Birdland, Village Vanguard and at other clubs, art galleries and churches throughout the city.

Additional support for the JVC JAZZ Festival – New York was provided by Empire Hotel, the official host hotel; Crown Royal; Lincoln American Luxury; Bryant Park Restoration Corporation; NYC & Company Convention & Visitors Bureau; Fox 5/WNYW-TV; The Village Voice; and WBGO-FM/Jazz 88.3.

Larry Lahaie New Director Of Century II PAC

The Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center in Wichita, KS, has named Larry Lahaie director. Lahaie was previously the director of operations for the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority in Omaha, NE.

Madsen Promoted TO GM At Midwest Wireless Civic Center

Marshall Madsen has been promoted to general manager of the Midwest Wireless Civic Center in Mankato, MN. He was previously director of operations.

Venue Financial Director Arrested For Theft

Ryan A. Bruder, 25, the financial director of the RiverCenter-Adler Theatre in Davenport, IA, was arrested and charged with second-degree theft on July 5 for using the venue's funds to pay off his personal credit card account and pay for a hotel bill. According to the Quad-City Times, he stole $3,074.16 from the city owned theater and exhibition complex. Bruder was an employee for Compass Facility Management, the Ames, Iowa, firm hired by the city to run the theater complex. He was placed on leave in the wake of a company audit that found about $14,000 missing, City Administrator Craig Malian said.

Mel Tillis Sells Branson Theater

BRANSON, MO (AP) — Country singer Mel Tillis has sold his theater in Branson to the owner of the Hobby Lobby chain.

Tillis announced Wednesday that his 2,600-seat theater and 13 acres of land had been purchased by David Green, owner of the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby stores. Green immediately leased the theater to the Tri-Lakes Assembly of God.

The sale price was not disclosed.

Tillis, 69, said he will perform another 135 shows in the theater through New Year's Eve.

After that, he plans to write songs; record an album with his band, the Statesiders; and a Christmas album with his family. He'll divide his time among a Branson home and farms in Tennessee and Florida.

The Assemblies of God Loan Fund purchased the 13 acres across from the theater, but has no immediate plans for the property, said Thomas Trask, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church International.

Tillis came to Branson in 1990, opening his show at what is now the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre. In 1992, Tillis built a 2,100-seat theater, now the Will Rogers Theatre.

He built the Mel Tillis Theater in 1994.

Essence Music Festival Sets Attendence Record

New Orleans' Essence Music Festival posted the highest attendance in its eight-year history with some 223,000 people taking part in the three-day celebration of African culture and music. The gathering marked an increase of almost 13 percent over last year's draw of about 195,000, according to festival organizers. This year's event also had the highest attendance since the festival began in 1995.

Marketing Services Gets Richmond Convention Center Contract

Marketing Services, a division of Global Spectrum, the management firm for the Greater Richmond (VA) Convention Center, has been awarded a contract by the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority to sell naming rights, advertising opportunities and vending arrangements at the newly expanded convention center.

The facility is undergoing a $165 million expansion project that when completed early next year will include 700,000 square feet of space, including 180,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 29,000 square foot grand ballroom.

Vogel Named New Arizona Venue Director

Randall Vogel has been tapped as director of theatres for Arizona's new $89 million Mesa Arts Center complex, scheduled to open in 2005. The complex will feature four theaters.

Vogel was previously director at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA.