The City of Lodi is hoping to turn the beat around at Hutchins Street Square as staff looks at ways to spice up its concert series with Grammy award-winning artists and mainstream entertainment.
“The time is right to inject some new energy into the Square, use that to get more people involved in community life and bring some excitement to town,” Lodi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Jeff Hood said during Tuesday’s parks and rec meeting at Carnegie Forum.
The department has been working with Patice Yee Green, who owns her marketing company Roadside Concepts. Green was contracted to drum up national acts, develop sponsorship packages and market events at the Square.
Before starting her own company, Green worked as the experiential marketing manager at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. During her tenure at Wente, Green landed comedic acts Steve Martin and Martin Short, as well as musical performers Hunter Hayes, Seal, Pat Benatar and Alanis Morissette.
“Lodi is already well known for its wine but I would love for its entertainment venue (Hutchins Street Square) to gain national exposure and bring national performers to the town,” Green said. “There is a need for arts and entertainment in Lodi as the region expands.”
“Our goal is to fill the theater,” Parks and Rec Deputy Director Cathi DeGroot said.
While most of the commissioners at Tuesday's meeting were enthralled by the prospect of the Square becoming a hub for national acts, Commissioner Bret Erickson was cautiously optimistic about the type of talent Green would secure.
“It’s exciting to get a new thing to the theater, but I would like to see entertainment that draws in teens and young adults to the venue. Most of the shows are oriented to retirees and older community members,” Erickson said.
Green told the commissioners that she intended to bring acts that fit the demographics of the community, and within the parks and rec budget.
“We want to bid a few top-notch performances so that the talent is chasing us and we are not chasing the talent,” Green said.
Commissioner Bill Mitchell said he understood Green’s method of attracting talent to the region because when he was younger and living in Southern California, the San Luis Obispo County Fair was well known amongst musicians.
“They followed that same method, and they had the best bands, even better than the concert lineup in LA,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he would like to see more live acts rather than tribute bands in an effort to draw more interest from the community.
“When David Crosby came out here a decade ago this place was packed,” Mitchell said.
Hood said that Green would attempt to bring Grammy award-winning artists from a variety of genres attractive to all age demographics.
Since many of the talent agents that Green works with represent a variety of artists, she feels confident that once a solid relationship is established between an agent and the city, they will be forthcoming with their talent rosters.
“A lot of agents book multiple genres, from TV hosts, cookbook authors, comedians, and plays. Once we build a repertoire with an agent they will send us their roster,” Green said. “We will, of course, vet all the acts to make sure they are right for the community.”
Parks staff will introduce the 2020 concert season in December, which will consist of four to six shows.
“We are working to finalize some dates at this point,” Green said.
The pricing structure for the tickets is expected to be in the ballpark of $45.