New Out­door Venue Bring­ing The En­ter­tain­ment Close

Riverbank News - - NEWS - BY VIR­GINIA STILL vstill@oak­dale­leader.com

There is a new venue in the area that is bring­ing na­tional tour­ing acts to the stage so peo­ple in the Cen­tral Val­ley that want to be en­ter­tained no longer have to drive very far. The West­side Pav­il­ion pre­sented by Black Oak Casino is an out­door venue that is sur­rounded by na­ture. The va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment that BJ Nel­son, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of Op­er­a­tions for Black Oak Re­sort wants to bring to the Pav­il­ion is ev­ery­thing for the masses to en­joy from coun­try mu­sic, soul, R&B, to rock and roll, pop and com­edy.

“We are touch­ing on ev­ery sin­gle genre this year and what acts are hot,” stated Nel­son. “We want to draw the best en­ter­tain­ment we can. So we are kind of hitting ev­ery sin­gle genre to kind of get the word out and get a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment op­tions out there. We will con­tinue to try to book acts guests want.”

The out­door con­cert sea­son runs through Oc­to­ber and has the ca­pac­ity for 6,000 peo­ple. Park­ing is free and there are shut­tles avail­able from Black Oak Casino to the venue.

The en­ter­tain­ment sched­ule in­cludes Jeff Fox­wor­thy and friends on Fri­day, Aug. 10; Smokey Robin­son will per­form on Aug. 18; 3 Doors Down and Col­lec­tive Soul will rock the venue on Sept. 4; Bobby Brown and Bel Biv Devoe hit the stage on Sept. 9; and newly added to the mix, Big Head Todd and the Mon­sters and the Gin Blos­soms with Tonic.

Kick­ing off the open­ing of the West­side Pav­il­ion was coun­try mu­sic artist Justin Moore at the end of May with Cam as his opener. The first show had thou­sands of guests in the gen­eral ad­mis­sion lawn area as well as seated guests. For the first con­cert, there were a lot of peo­ple which in turn re­sults in lots of lines to get in, for food, for drinks, to get the IDs checked, and for the bathrooms.

Since that first con­cert, Nel­son ex­plained that there were some things they re­al­ized did not work and some changes that needed to be made. So they ex­panded the porta-potty sec­tion, as well as mov­ing the beer, ad­ding a food ven­dor in the VIP sec­tion, and putting in a line sys­tem to help man­age the lines and en­hance the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence. There is an eight-foot rise in the lawn area which is gen­eral ad­mis­sion and low back lawn chairs are ac­cept­able as well as blan­kets. There have been changes made to the lawn area specif­i­cally where peo­ple can stand and some added aisle ways put in as well.

“We made small changes and in­creased some staffing,” added Nel­son. “We are a ru­ral com­mu­nity so when you have a 6,000 seat venue we rely heav­ily on folks from out­side of our com­mu­nity com­ing to visit us and we want to be a des­ti­na­tion venue.”

With peo­ple in at­ten­dance from the Val­ley and sev­eral com­ing from the Bay Area, as well as folks from the North in the Sacra­mento re­gion the West­side Pav­il­ion has been packed with guests from all over the state, Nel­son noted. There have been ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 to 2,500 re­served seats and some­where be­tween 2,500 to 3,000 guests in the lawn area for each event, ac­cord­ing to Nel­son.

“We can mod­ify the venue de­pend­ing on shows,” stated Nel­son. “We are still ex­per­i­ment­ing with what the right num­ber of seat­ing op­tions are. We have seen very strong de­mand for our VIP tick­ets so the Di­a­mond and Plat­inum tick­ets have been sold out for ev­ery show we have done so far.”

The VIP area has food ven­dors, drink ven­dors, a sit­ting area with tele­vi­sions, and bathrooms with nice floors and air con­di­tion­ing. Guests who pur­chase Di­a­mond or Plat­inum tick­ets will have re­served seat­ing in the first two sec­tions to the stage as well as ac­cess to the VIP area. There is a spe­cific en­trance for VIP ticket hold­ers and VIP park­ing.

“Our price points we think are vastly bet­ter than any other op­tions in the mar­ket,” ex­plained Nel­son. “There is great value in our re­served seat­ing as well. Our Gen­eral Ad­mis­sion price point is also lower than any­thing else in the mar­ket. We haven’t sold any Gen­eral Ad­mis­sion tick­ets over $40. We are try­ing to beat the price points and we are try­ing to make the ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter with ev­ery event we have. In par­tic­u­lar we do take great pride in our premium pric­ing and our premium seats be­cause we re­ally like our VIP area too and the ameni­ties that come with it and the ex­pe­ri­ence that you get from be­ing up front and close like that.”

There are a few more acts that will round out the out­door venue shows this fall that have not been an­nounced as of yet.

“We think we’ve got a good thing in a great lo­ca­tion that is go­ing to be highly com­pet­i­tive,” ex­pressed Nel­son. “It is hard to open a venue so we are just try­ing to get the word out. As far as the Pav­il­ion it­self, ob­vi­ously we are very ex­cited about the lo­ca­tion; we think it is a beau­ti­ful spot, it’s out­doors, great scenery. Not only is it tak­ing in some great en­ter­tain­ment but you are sur­rounded by na­ture.”

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

The West­side Pav­il­ion in Tuolumne opened at the end of May and has brought a va­ri­ety of acts to the stage. On Fri­day, Aug. 10 Jeff Fox­wor­thy and friends will be the head­lin­ers, fol­lowed by a per­for­mance by Smokey Robin­son on Aug. 18.

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