No Venues, No People


Kenna Smith, Features Assisstant

It’s late, hours past the time your parents have gone to bed, and there you are, surrounded in darkness, the only sound is the clicking of the mouse as you refresh the musician’s page. The frustration building they said they would be releasing concert dates and tickets sometime that night. You refresh the page, again and again, then suddenly city names and dates flood your screen and you frantically search for a city or venue in your state… yet there’s none. You start looking for a venue in a city that’s a couple hours’ drive at most- and the closet you can get is eight hours away.

This is a problem that many concert-goers within Wyoming face. No tours or major artists come through the state, and the bands or artists that do, are often in the blues or country genres and set to perform during Cheyenne Frontier Days. CFD typically only sees A-list country artists and the occasional classic rock band. This last summer CFD reached a larger crowd by hosting Fall Out Boy, an A-list pop-punk band. They sold out their show, which undoubtedly brought in a large amount of revenue. Taking this all into account, the question still remains: Why aren’t there any big tours, bands or festivals coming through Wyoming?

The answer is simple: Wyoming’s population is not large enough to attract many major artists. The population of Wyoming is 584,153 (as of 2014).

In this state there are  only five places that have the amount of seating to hold a large concert: CFD Arena, which can seat 25,000; Laramie’s War Memorial Stadium which can hold 29,181 people, Laramie’s A-A, can seat 11,600; the Casper Event Center, which has 8,895 seats, and, finally, the Civic Center, which seats 1,500 people. The primary issue with these places isn’t the number of seats, but the distance to them. And War Memorial and CFD Arena are at an even bigger disadvantage because they are outdoor venues.

So, how does the state of Wyoming attract concert goers? Well, when looking at venues outside of the state, it becomes rather clear that each place has something unique. Red Rocks has its unique set up. The Pepsi Center is a massive indoor venue. Fiddlers Green offers a green area. All of these places are also situated in or close to Denver, a major U.S. city.

So, if Wyoming were to build a venue, it would have to offer something special. Whether that is a unique concessions or food or an interesting area surrounding it or highlighting other points-of-interest within the nearby city, the last essential thing would be its design.

Typically a venue is built through tax voters’ approval, bonds, and sponsorships. Sponsorships and bonds are considered good things as they don’t affect tax payers and people who don’t go to concerts. If this “million dollar building” gets built the amount of money the city and state spent on it will eventually return. Concert-goers stay in hotels, buy food from our stores, eat from restaurants here, and will often make their stay an all-day event walking around uptown or downtown areas, potentially buying items from local businesses here, thus supporting the local economy.

The idea of having a concert hall in Wyoming that attracts thousands of people is a big dream and an expensive one; however, it’ll eventually pay for itself, while helping the local economy of the city it’s nearby. This is quite literally a “million dollar dream” that many will doubt. And to those doubters, remember all of this the next time a friend or family member is dragging you across the country for a concert that’ll last for a couple of hours.