Event Center Promos Mislead; Proposed Events are Costly

John Legend Table Tent

A quick glance at this tabletop promo for Measure 2A makes it look like John Legend is already booked in town, if only we had an events center. That’s not the case.

If you’ve eaten out lately, you may have seen table tents displayed at downtown restaurants promoting Measure 2A on the city ballot this coming April. The measure asks city residents to approve increasing the City’s sales tax by a quarter cent to fund a $60 million downtown events center.

But beware, these promos strive to deceive.

The larger, more visible lettering on the table tents gives readers the impression that big-name acts like comedian Jerry Seinfeld, musician John Legend and the Harlem Globetrotters are scheduled to appear in Grand Junction in the fall of 2019 at the new events center we don’t yet have. None of these acts are currently scheduled to appear in Grand Junction, though. The smaller, harder-to-read print says “events like this” are “coming to Grand Junction.” But this is also not a fact.

The table tents try to make people salivate over the fantastic entertainment we might be missing out on due to a supposed lack of a suitable venue.

Promos Promise Pricey Acts

Take a closer look at what the events center promoters are saying:

The Harlem Globetrotters are perhaps the most affordable of the table tents’ proposed acts. Tickets for the Globetrotters’ performance in Broomfield March 16 range from $19.50 to $131.50 excluding junk fees, which actually include a an extra $2.00 fee buyers must pay just to print the tickets out on their own home computers. If you want the tickets mailed to you, the extra fee is even more. If you pick them up in person, there’s also a fee for that. Jerry Seinfeld plays mostly in large cities, but performs at a few smaller venues on par with Grand Junction. He will be performing in Grand Forks, North Dakota (population about 55,000) this spring. The cheapest tickets to see Seinfeld in Grand Forks cost $63.00 each plus junk fees. He will be performing there at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Dakota. John Legend performs mostly in larger venues, but has a concert scheduled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (population about 95,000) on May 16. The cheapest ticket to that event is $72.00 before junk fees. The most expensive ticket is $920.00. Tickets to see comedian Jim Gaffigan, who is featured on yet another table tent, run from $60 to $210, depending on the seats.

Table Tent promo for 2A makes it look like the Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town in the fall of 2019.

So the acts events center backers are using to try and gin up support for the new tax don’t sound like entertainment most average western slope citizens could afford, let alone for their entire families.

The people cheerleading for the events center are throwing these big ideas out to grab people’s attention and try to get voters drooling over the proposed events center. But how much good would an events center do if the majority of locals can’t afford to attend the acts there?

Who Benefits? Who Doesn’t?

Arguments in favor of the events center, as articulated in a front page article in the Sunday, February 26, 2017  Daily Sentinel, include that it will boost the fortunes of local business owners who are already actually doing pretty well. Hotel owners Steve and Kevin Reimer, who already own three hotels downtown, told the Sentinel they will build a fourth and maybe even a fifth hotel downtown if the events center gets built. It’s a clear example of how an events center stands to make successful business owners in town even more successful, while remarkably few benefits will accrue to the majority of city residents who will be paying for it.

The events center proposal would be fine, even terrifically exciting, if town didn’t already lack so badly in amenities that benefit all residents and if the Grand Junction City Council and Mesa County Commissioners hadn’t already spent decades demonstrating an overwhelming preference for boosting the fortunes of a handful of business owners over those of average, hard-working residents. Amenities that make a town great for everyone to live in don’t include projects that mostly line the pockets of a relatively few select individuals. They include things intentionally built to benefit a broad swath of city residents, like generously-sized, safe shady sidewalks, an extensive multi-use path system that helps people get around town without cars, an excellent rapid transit system, great parks sprinkled evenly throughout the area, excellent drainage and sewer systems, well-funded schools, public recreation and community centers, widespread access to reasonably-priced broadband and the like.

Citizens Must Care About Their Town to Get More Real Amenities for Everyone

While it’s up to area citizens whether they’re willing to tax themselves to get amenities like these that benefit so many more people and that would draw more businesses and skilled workers to town, it would have been far more thoughtful towards residents if Council had put a proposal on the April ballot for a recreation center as well — something city residents have been clamoring for for years — and given citizens the chance to choose which project they would prefer to have, or choose if they might even be willing to fund both. Sadly, Grand Junction voters will not be getting that choice, though, and will not get any of these other wonderful amenities any time soon.


  13 comments for “Event Center Promos Mislead; Proposed Events are Costly

  1. Grand Junction is a hub for outdoors activities. NOT for entertainment. People in this town barely support the crap that’s brought in here, (with the exception of Mesa Theater…killing it lately) The Avalon wasn’t even finished!!! They sold their sound system to Mesa Theater!! So now you have to PAY Snob Prods to put sound into Avalon…Vote NO on this waste. People don’t come here for entertainment like this. The City can’t even run itself with what we have…why spend our tax dollars on some crap that STILL won’t be run right?? GJ needs to get its s++t together before thinking they can run this monstrosity.

    • Hi Todd, You are correct on some valid points here. The Avalon was not finished and it should be. We can do better with the outdoor stuff. I disagree that “crap” is brought here. That’s insulting to me. It may not be your thing but we have many different tastes in music and each deserves some attention. The Mesa is bringing good things. The Avalon did not sell a sound system to the Mesa Theater. The Avalon has never had a sound system other that what they use for movies and they still have that. Snob sold the Mesa owners a new PA. Snob is only one of many contractors that can produce live sound at the Avalon. Mountainside and Conner Ivey both are capable subs.

  2. Concert/shows adjust their ticket prices depending on the market. Clint Black just sold out quickly at $39-$59

    • Elton John tix, floors seat, at the Broadmoor World Arena, were upwards of 1,100.00. Maybe you can afford that, but my Mom can’t. . .

    • Actually it took over five months to sell out Clint Black. I went on sale with Clint October 1 and we had seats available well into March. The market is currently very soft for ticket sales and has been for years.
      There are exceptions but overall this is one of the slowest periods for ticket sales I have experienced here in 37 years of producing shows in this area. My first show was with the group “America” at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in August of 1980. and the last was with Clint Black on March 23. In between have been approximately 200 concerts. Another 300 concerts in other markets during that same period.

  3. I agree it may have been a better way forward to have asked the voters to approve enough funding to support both projects. Going forward I hope to assist PLACE (the group working for the community center) realize their goals. I’ve met with the parks department, and their board, had numerous conversations with Roxanne Dennis (WCC) and have started attending the Place board meetings. I think we can get this done, especially with the passion I have encountered listening to residents the last few months.

  4. Red Rocks has events for $70 up, and good bands go there. Of course it’s Red Rocks, a privilege for bands to play there. The Metropolitan Opera in NY has tickets from $25.00 up with the best opera singers in the world, incredible productions too. People from all over the world go there and spend their money in NY. I think that if the venue is really good, we could be seeing celebrities play there, and also celebrities spending their money in town, as well as public who would come from this side of the mountains and other places.

    • The artist come for one thing, money. The markets ability to pay is primary. The average gross at Red Rocks is in the $800,000.00 range with the act taking over half of that away with them. GJ will not get the same talent as we don’t have the population to drive ticket prices and attendance that large cities do.

  5. Donkey Basketball ! Motivational speeches by guy that lives in a van down by the river !! Singer who finished 14th on American Idol ! Just let your imagination soar at GJ Arena!

  6. And a small thing, but whose paying for these table tent ads, and how much did they cost? Is this a “junk fee” passed on to taxpayers which should be paid by those few who benefit?

    • Hi Vicki, I am part of a group of volunteers supporting the Event center/convention center expansion. We received no financial help from the city. The entire effort has been funded by dozens of business and individuals. This same level of effort will be needed to get the Community Center approved. Think of table toppers that depicted kids sliding down a serpentine slide into the water, or basketball/volleyball courts, senior exercise area, yoga class, ect. all coming in 2020, or sooner. Vote yes for the Community… Steve

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