After a quiet year on the concert front in Penticton, 2012 is already shaping up to be a busy year.
The latest announcement from Canadian country star Paul Brandt that he will be coming to Penticton on March 1 follows close on the heels of two other major concert announcements from B.B. King and George Thorogood, also coming to play the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Following on the success of his fall tour, the Alberta-born Brandt announced extra dates for this spring, including stops in Kamloops, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat as well as Penticton.
Dean Clarke, general manager of the SOEC, said it has a lot to do with timing and the economy. The music industry was paying careful attention to the economy through the latter part of 2011, he said, and artists were being very careful about touring.
“It wasn’t quiet for the SOEC, it was quiet for the whole industry,” Clark said. Artists are getting more comfortable with touring, he said, and they are taking a serious look at the SOEC and Penticton.
“I think it has a lot to do with our successes,” he said, listing the Toby Keith and Keith Urban concerts, as well as Cirque du Soleil, all of which were very successful. As well as making those performances financially successful, Clark said Penticton is building a reputation for good audiences.
“Keith Urban said it was the most energy he played to on his world tour,” said Clarke.
There are still venues that are struggling to book acts, but Clarke said the SOEC’s phone is ringing and they are very busy filling the schedule for 2012.
“We want to be picky and choosy … make sure we don’t oversaturate the market,” said Clarke. “We are building on some quiet, constructive revenue building over 2011.”
Brandt’s bio calls him “the most awarded male Canadian country artist in history,” and with a long string of Juno and Canadian Country Music awards for best male singer and album of the year, it would be hard to argue the point.
Brandt released Give It Away on Sept. 13, his first album since Risk in 2008. A diverse collection of songs, Give It Away explores passion, loss, humour and, of course, love. It also features revisited versions of Brandt’s hits, I Do and My Heart Has a History.
“It feels great to be back on the scene with new music,” said Brandt. “This is the start of so much more to come, and it’s really exciting.”
Tickets for Brandt’s March 1 concert go on sale Dec. 16 and are available at the SOEC Box Office, Wine Country Visitor Centre, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or online at valleyfirsttix.com.