The promoter of the one of the region’s largest concert series is looking to take a new show on the road to Chesterfield.
EventMakers-USA, which is in the midst of the first year hosting its After Hours series at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, is in talks with Chesterfield officials to potentially bring a full slate of shows to the county beginning next year.
As a first step and a sort of test run, EventMakers is planning two concerts next month at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds.
The first of the shows is Oct. 16 with headliner country music star Chase Rice. The second act has yet to be announced.
Larry Creeger, the executive producer of the After Hours and head of EventMakers, said he’s had discussions off and on with Chesterfield County for about three years.
“They’ve been after us for many years to do this,” Creeger said. “We decided this was a good year to test it out.”
The county is running the discussions with Creeger through its department of Parks and Recreation, led by Director Bob Smet.
“We’re going to do some shows this fall,” Smet said. “We feel like the people in Chesterfield are going to respond very positively to these. There’s a huge turnout from Chesterfield for a number of (After Hours) events.”
While discussions for a full summer series for 2022 are ongoing, Creeger and Smith said key details are still to be ironed out, including a more permanent location. It’s not a foregone conclusion that such a series would be held at the fairgrounds.
“We have not nailed down any sites. What we have is a footprint and the layout of what Larry has provided,” Smith said. “Thus far our search has been limited to county land but if another opportunity presented itself we wouldn’t turn away from that.”
Discussions on the specific terms for a short-term lease with EventMakers for the first two test shows next month are set to take place at the next county Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 22.
Creeger said his hope for the setup in 2022 would be something similar to After Hours’ capacity in Doswell, which allows for up to about 8,500 concertgoers and typically averages around 3,000.
“That’s our sweet spots for the bands and the groups,” he said.
Despite the pandemic and the lingering delta variant, Creeger said his company’s first year at Meadow Event Park has been a relative success.
EventMakers moved to the Doswell site this year after running the longtime Innsbrook After Hours series in Henrico. Creeger’s firm is no longer involved in any way with Innsbrook After Hours, which has continued on in the Henrico office park with mostly smaller acts this summer.
Creeger said tickets sales for his Doswell shows have been steady, with larger acts this summer like Toby Keith and Lynyrd Skynard selling more than 6,000.
One pleasant surprise has been ticket sales in the venue’s VIP hospitality areas, which offer more private seating closer to the stage away from the crowds.
Creeger attributed that to people wanting some extra space in the age of COVID, with the luxury of being able to space out without masks at an all-outdoor venue.
As for adding a new promotion in Chesterfield, Creeger said having a stop somewhere in the county for some musical acts would help fill in gaps in touring schedules.
“There are restrictions based on distances and timing for certain acts and the 56 mile difference (between Doswell and Chesterfield) makes a huge difference to us,” he said.