Civic Center ‘passes’ test with Clint Black concert

Published 1:18 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Batesville Civic Center passed a big test over the weekend, successfully hosting country music star Clint Black in a concert Friday, Nov. 10, that drew nearly 1,500 people to the venue, and solidified the city as a reliable stop for mid-level music acts and bands of all types.

The Civic Center, built two decades ago as a venue for equestrian events, has long been limited by poor acoustics. While many successful events have been held there over the years, namely rodeos, truck shows, gun and knife expos, kart and motorbike racing, etc., the Civic Center has not been able to host concerts.

Civic Center director Rodney Holley, hired earlier this year, worked over the summer to find ways to combat the building’s acoustic problems with a series of sound dampening curtains strategically hung to create suitable sound effects for a concert. Holley said he couldn’t have been happier with the experimental system.

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“I was nervous, but when the Clint Black people started their sound check at three o’clock I knew we were good,” Holley said. “The band was completely satisfied and we know now that it’s just a matter of getting the right performers here for our market.”

Holley said he expects the Civic Center can reasonably host one big concert a quarter, in addition to the numerous other events that fill the arena’s calendar.

At capacity, the Civic Center holds about 3,000 people and for some events the house is nearly full. Concerts, though, will be kept to about the size of last Friday’s event. “That seemed to work and that number of tickets will bring some well known performers,” Holley said. “This week I’ve already had promoters calling and asking about the Civic Center after seeing we had this show.”