Soccer fans cheered at Protective Stadium on October 2, when the UAB Blazers faced the Liberty Flames in the stadium’s opening game. The UAB have played three more times at the stadium in central Birmingham, with another game scheduled for November 26.
Now, when can we attend a concert in the new stadium? And what kind of events can we expect at the 45,000-seat venue?
Such questions have been on the minds of music lovers here, especially if they recall shows from mega-stars – the Rolling Stones, U2, Pink Floyd, and more – at Legion Field, the nearly century-old stadium on Graymont Avenue West.
If you are impatient to find out who will be coming to Protective Stadium, you will have to wait a little longer for that.
Tad Snider, chief executive officer and chief executive officer of the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority, said the BJCC is not ready to announce the first performer at the stadium or a specific date for the show. Snider confirmed, however, that there is a concert scheduled for Protective Stadium in June 2022.
“He’s someone who will fill the stadium,” Snider told AL.com. He also said that the artist has performed in Birmingham before.
Kenny Chesney? Luke Bryan? Garth Brooks?
Snider didn’t confirm that the first artist at Protective Stadium will be a country star, but it seems like a natural match. Birmingham has country fans, many of them, as does the rest of the state.
It all depends on which acts will be traveling on stadium tours next year and what their routes will be. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on the concert industry and things have yet to get back to normal.
“If we hadn’t gone through the last 18 months, we would be further away,” Snider said. “Because of the way the stadium was designed, now we have a concert in the books and we can organize different types of events, be it an outdoor version of Monster Trucks, be it Arenacross, be it a type of X Games, that. it is part of the program. We just have to go a little further down the road in terms of those kinds of events, hit the road again and book, to find out what it looks like. I think if we hadn’t been through what we’ve been through for the past 18 months, that would be much clearer. I’m very excited that we already have a date for the concert. “
Top concert promoters like AEG and Live Nation are the companies most likely to bring shows to Protective Stadium, said Todd Coder, a Birmingham concert promoter and founder of CODE-R Productions. The stadium could also be used for music festivals, said Coder, the founding talent buyer for Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores.
“The size is great for that bigger, higher-end artist,” Coder told AL.com. “There is a wide variety of shows that you can put on there. A festival-like event would make sense there. You could set up more than one stage and do something in the parking lot. “
(Birmingham’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation-owned Red Mountain Entertainment, declined to be interviewed for this story.)
According to Snider, the audience capacity at Protective Stadium could increase to 50,000 or more, depending on where the stage is placed and how the seats are arranged on the field.
“There is the possibility of adding temporary seats if needed, to increase soccer capacity,” Snider said. “Like (Legacy Arena at BJCC), in a concert setting, you will have seats on the field, so the capacity is over 45,000 for a concert, because you don’t have the playing surface. You can use that as an additional seat. So it all comes down to stage size, stage setup, for exact capacity, but it will be over 45,000 in concert setup. I’d say at least 5,000 more. “
The timeline for concerts at the stadium, which does not have a retractable roof, will be similar to what you would see at an amphitheater, Snider said.
“I don’t think it’s going to vary drastically from what an amphitheater season is: early spring to mid-fall. It won’t be in the middle of winter, ”Snider said. “So this is definitely when the outdoor weather conditions make it suitable for having an outdoor event.”
Protective Stadium is not among the largest stadiums in the United States, some of which can seat 100,000 people or more. Other stadiums, like Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, or SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles, can hold at least 70,000 people for concerts.
If an artist like Beyonce or Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones is doing a stadium tour, would Birmingham be on the list? Or would the Protective Stadium, with its smaller audience capacity, be overlooked?
“I think the stadium provides opportunities for acts and artists that can fill a stadium and make that economic model work, or those that people love to see,” Snider said. “Going back to when I was younger, the Rolling Stones played Legion Field a couple of times. U2 played Legion Field. Pink Floyd played Legion Field. So it’s that type and level of artist that now opens up that opportunity again for the Birmingham market. Now, they are different performers in the stadium segment today than there were then, but they will be exciting shows. I don’t think there is any doubt about it.
“Tours hit the road in different configurations,” Snider continued. “They are going to play stadiums; they are going to play amphitheaters; they will play stadiums; they will play in performing arts venues. They hit the road with all their gear ready for one type of tour. And that stadium segment is not the majority of the touring world. I think when we look at how the program that we’ve booked next summer works, and the capacity, and what that brings in terms of performance potential, revenue potential for promoters, I think the capacity works. I don’t think that’s a problem. Time will tell.”
Protective Stadium may not place Birmingham (known as a “B market”) on par with Atlanta or Nashville (former “A markets”) in the concert world, but in Coder’s view, the stadium gives the city a status boost. and potential.
“I think it is perfectly suited to fill the void of what we need as a city, to give our market an opportunity for shows that we wouldn’t have before,” Coder said. “It can help increase the visibility of the market and the level of events in the market. And I think people will be excited to go there. Everybody loves a new experience. “
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