Santana part of PromoWest's 30th anniversary celebration

"Santana appeals to all eras from our 30 years," PromoWest Productions founder, President and CEO Scott Stienecker said by way of explaining why booking the classic guitarist is such a great "get" for the local concert promoter's 30th anniversary celebration.

(Santana will play Lifestyle Communities Pavilion June 4.)

The industry has changed in the past 30 years, and PromoWest has obviously stayed current - how else to explain growing from 80 shows at one venue that first year to more than 700 at nine venues in 2013, making PromoWest the nation's 10th largest concert promoter? - but Stienecker said his basic philosophy has remained constant.

"We want a rock 'n' roll feel," he said, emphasizing general admission "seating," where an audience member "can get as close to or as far from the stage as they want, to get them the experience they want."

Stienecker also said his company has stayed current, booking new/younger/emerging acts to appeal to a concert-going audience that has always skewed young.

"We're targeting people who are going to 20-30 shows every year," he said.

In Columbus, PromoWest can book an act in its 300-capacity Basement club all the way up through 11,000 at its festival set-up behind Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. In between are the first-ever-of-its-kind indoor-outdoor club in the LC and, of course, the nation's longest-continually-running rock club in the Newport Music Hall. Indeed, there are five permutations at PromoWest's Neil Avenue site in the Arena District - two clubs in the Basement and A&R Bar, the indoor and outdoor LC and the festival set-up. The Newport is, of course, on High Street in the OSU campus area, and shows there still generally skew toward the college audience.

Along the way, Stienecker helped get the now-defunct Polaris Amphitheater built (and co-operated it for the first several years of its existence until it fell victim to a changing industry, among other factors). Stienecker said opening Polaris is among his biggest accomplishments, although he admitted that, by the time the venue opened, he was chasing the trends rather than setting them.

A few years ago, the company opened Stage AE in Pittsburgh, and is looking at a possible third market.

For the rest of 2014, Stienecker said he hopes to have a total of six anniversary celebration shows - one at each of the local venues. Each will feature not just a significant and site-appropriate act but also additional features in celebration of the past 30 years.

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By: Jim Fischer

3 / 11 / 14

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