In the Arena

30 Nov

Hello there, internet world. My name is Todd Hunt and I am the director of the BancorpSouth Arena here in Tupelo. I’m also a husband, father, church member, drummer in a rock band, former youth league softball coach, and many other things, but I’m pretty sure that the Journal asked me to blog due to my job at the BancorpSouth Arena. However, we may touch upon those other topics from time to time, since this is my blog. We’ll see how this goes, as this is my first attempt at blogging…

I thought the best place to start would be with my background in the entertainment industry. I started out as a member (and later director) of Music Maker Productions, the student-run concert committee at MSU in the 80’s. Some of the shows I worked include Randy Travis, Alabama, Reba, Cheap Trick, The Smithereens, and my personal favorite the Hoodoo Gurus. From there I journeyed to Oxford (Mississippi, not England) to finish my masters degree where I advised the Student Programming Board on concerts such as Randy Travis/Alan Jackson in the Tad Pad, and drivin’n’cryin’ and the BoDeans in the Grove.

After grad school I took a job at Auburn University, again working with student programming. Reba, Alan Jackson, Widespread Panic, Better Than Ezra and Arrested Development (they put on a fantastic show) were a few of the concerts that played various campus venues during my time in Auburn.

Next stop was the UTC Arena in Chattanooga as the assistant director of the venue. Reba (she keeps following me!), Bon Jovi, the Allman Brothers (another great show), Boyz II Men, WWE, WCW, and Vince Gill all performed during my stint in Chattanooga.

This brings me to my first stint in Tupelo. I was hired by the legendary Michael Marion to be his assistant at the Tupelo Coliseum. Of course, he neglected to mention that he would soon be leaving to build a new arena in Little Rock. So, after two months of serving as his assistant, I became the director of the venue. Reba, Elton John, Gaither Homecoming, Aerosmith, Boyz II Men, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant (what an awesome show that was!), ZZ Top, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Boston, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were a few of the highlights of my years here.

After two and a half years in Tupelo, I was offered the chance to manage Humphrey Coliseum at MSU. My family and I weren’t looking to leave Tupelo, but the chance to run the building that my father built (he was the manager from 1975-1999) was too great to pass up. Shows in Starkville during my tenure included the Goo Goo Dolls, Widespread Panic, the Gaithers, Nickelback, the Wiggles (if you don’t know who they are, ask a three year old), and the first ever performance of Ringling Brothers at MSU. Did I mention that all of these events had to be worked around MSU men’s & women’s basketball? And as I soon learned, basketball is a year round sport. If you don’t believe me, just ask Rick Stansbury…

Eight years of basketball took its toll and I decided that it was time to get back into the concert business. As fate would have it, my former building in Tupelo (now known as the BancorpSouth Arena) was looking for someone to help get it back into the concert business as well. After a few well-publicized detours, we were able to work out the details and I am now back in the same office I inhabited in 1999. So far we have been able to bring Willie Nelson and Breaking Benjamin/Three Days Grace to town, with upcoming shows by the Gaithers, Reba and Kelly Clarkson, and the Harlem Globetrotters. As long as the community supports our shows by purchasing tickets, we will continue to bring in the best entertainment possible.

Over the course of this blog, my goal is to share some of the details of what we do here at the Arena. How do we find shows? Who sets ticket prices? What is a typical day like? Why don’t you bring “fill in the blank” to town? What is it like to hang out with the stars? Of course, I’ll have to actually hang out with a star first before I can answer that last one.

So that’s my blog for this week. This weekend we’ll be celebrating with all of the little princes & princesses in the area as Disney on Ice Princess Wishes performs six shows. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, visit our website at http://www.bcsarena.com to order.

Until next week,

Todd

  • LOOK HERE! The Arena is getting a lot of questions about the upcoming Aaron Neville concert. Aaron Neville, his quintet and his brother Charles Neville are all performing together. So, if you’re looking for Aaron, he’ll be there!

6 Responses to “In the Arena”

  1. Alan November 30, 2007 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks for doing this Todd. Looking forward to hearing more about BCS Arena here. … I am curious, what is a typical day like at the Arena? What are the busy times of year for you folks? Thanks.

  2. Todd November 30, 2007 at 3:16 pm #

    I’ll post a blog on a typical day soon. As for our busy times, November through May see the most traffic.

  3. Regina November 30, 2007 at 7:57 pm #

    Hey! I have never read a blog or responded to one before so here goes….I attended Disney on Ice today with my school. I am an assistant teacher in a K-5 classroom and we all really enjoyed it. I also wanted to tell you that if you want to sell out the BCS arena just book Miley Cyrus!! My daughter is absolutely obsessed with Hannah Montana and even though she is a member of Miley World.com we were still unable to get tickets to the concert last night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. It sold out only minutes after tickets went on sale. I was online the minute tickets went on sale, was unable to get logged on for several minutes and when I finally did get logged on it was already sold out! Anyway, this little girl is selling out arenas all over the US so if you could book her it would be great. Thanks and keep up the blog, I love reading about all the things going on in Tupelo!

  4. Jane November 30, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    Glad to see there is a way to ask these questions and get answers. I am curious about ticket prices. I heard there was some confusion on ticket prices for the Willie Nelson show. How do ticket prices work?

  5. phil November 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    What about bringing Van Halen in for a show?

  6. Todd December 3, 2007 at 8:19 am #

    Regina – we would love to book Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus for a show. Unfortunately, when an act is selling out 16,000 seats a night, it’s hard to convince them to play our place for 9,000 seats. The dollars just don’t add up. We’ll keep trying to book something in this vein as we know that there is a demand out there.

    Jane – I’ll address ticket pricing in depth in a future blog.

    Phil – see my explanation on Hannah Montana above for an answer on Van Halen. For me, it’s not the real band without Michael Anthony, but this is probably as close as they will ever come to a reunion of the classic lineup. If Eddie & Dave can continue to get along, they will be adding more dates next year. We’ll keep working on it.

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