Would decent acts actually play the Palm Springs Convention Center?

(Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella )

The Desert Sun has details about a business merger that would involve venues and convention centers throughout the United States, including the underutilized Palm Springs Convention Center. The deal, which involves AEG and (yes, that AEG) and SMG – which currently operates the venue.  Financial details of the deal have not been announced (not that it matters, since you aren’t getting any cash out of it), but the newspaper does point out there is speculation about the building hosting something other than home shows and business conventions.

Speculation has already begun that major acts could soon perform at the facility, although no one is saying Beyoncé will appear in the convention center’s 112,000-square-foot exhibit hall just because she likes the manager of the venue.

Yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say Beyonce is not coming to the Palm Springs Convention Center (more on that in a bit), but, would anyone other than the same-old same-old come to town now?

I am no expert on bookings, but I do have eyes and based on what’s currently been going on in the desert, it’s really hard to see it happening.

If there is one thing the Coachella Valley is not short on, it’s venues.  There is one at just about every casino, there’s the McCallum, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Empire Polo Club, and the Air Musuem to name a few – plus a few dozen small venues and bars that also book live acts.

And even with the casinos able to make up for a small loss on the artist booking by then having guests lose cash on all those slot machines, there is a reason acts like Air Supply and REO Speedwagon perform in the desert every four months: they are cheap to book and, for whatever reason, they draw.

Now, I don’t want to get all Debbie Downer here, but it would be pretty damn surprising to see the Convention Center start booking high profile acts (or add enough parking to accommodate a move like that).  But then, some disagree because AEG owns Goldenvoice, the Coachella fest promoter run by Paul Tollett.

Local officials remain in the dark about the ramifications of the merger, but those interviewed are excited by the possibilities. Harold Matzner, who rents the convention center for a Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala that attracts 2,500 dinner guests annually, believes Tollett would book some special events there.

“Look who they are; look where they are,” Matzner said. “They’re going to be in it for us, for our market. … You’ll have to talk to Paul, but I assume that’s going to be happening. They’re going to look at this in a special way because Coachella is so involved here.

“I can’t say sitting here right now we’re going to get Beyoncé, but we have a better chance of getting Beyoncé with AEG in there as a partner than we did before.”

Oh, Harold.


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