Popular 1980s hair band/glam metal cover band will play on Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Mark your calendars and get ready to rat your hair: Hairball is coming to Crookston, on May 16, 2015, to bring their self-described "Bombastic Celebration of Arena Rock" to Crookston Sports Center.   

    The Crookston City Council, at a Ways & Means Committee meeting this week, gave City Administrator Shannon Stassen the go-ahead to book the show, by committing $15,000 to cover the city's share of the cost of bringing the popular 1980s hair band/glam metal cover band to the CSC. The local youth hockey booster club, the Crookston Blue Line Club, which runs concessions at the CSC, has agreed to put up $15,000 as well to cover the estimated $30,000 cost to make the Hairball performance happen, Stassen told council members.    

    The city and BLC will split all profits.   

    A CSC Marketing Task Force last year came up with lots of ideas to boost revenue at the four-year-old facility, and hosting a concert was high on the list. Stassen said Hairball has been mentioned to him a lot during his research into the inaugural show to bring to the CSC, and he said the band makes sense because they're well-known and popular, but maybe not too well known and too popular.   

    "These guys are reasonably priced and have kind of a devoted, cult following, but they tour nationwide, too," Stassen said, noting that Hairball has 75,000 "Likes" on their Facebook page.   

    Consulting with the band's promoter, Stassen said he was told that a typical show attracts 1,500 to 2,000 people. In the CSC's Event Arena, when seating on the floor is factored in, Parks & Recreation Director/CSC Manager Scott Riopelle said the seating capacity is likely a little more than 2,000.   

    The band sets ticket prices at $20 in advance and $25 to $30 at the gate. Using that price point and expected attendance, ticket sale revenue is estimated to be $32,000, with $5,000 coming from concessions and $3,000 from sponsorships. Estimated expenses are $23,000 for the band itself, $5,000 for marketing and $2,000 for equipment and security. Doing the math, that adds up to a profit of $10,000.   

    "It feels pretty safe that we'll at least end up on the good side of the ledger," Stassen said. "It's also an opportunity for us to get a feel for how this facility works for an event like this. The goal down the line would be to do a few of these a year, along with trade shows and things like that. We need to dip our toe in the water on this and see how it goes."   

    The last time Hairball performed in this area, at the Grand Forks Alerus Center, 2,200 attended. They'll play again in Grand Forks in November 2014, but Stassen said the promoters have assured him they will "not play anywhere near here" from November until the Crookston show on May 16, 2015. Stassen said the band is booked solid, and Saturday, May 16 is one of the very few dates they're available.   

    Ward 4 Council Member Hector Santellanes said he likes the idea. "We need to start with something," he said.   

    There will be alcohol served at the concert, and Stassen said vendors will have an opportunity to bid for the event. He added that revenue from beer sales is an important part of the revenue stream from the show.   

    While he said he didn't think the concert is a bad idea, At Large Council Member Wayne Melbye voiced concerns about it being too warm and stuffy in the Event Arena in May. He said he was at the CSC Tuesday morning and it was "hot as heck." Riopelle said the CSC was closed on Memorial Day and the air handling system was shut down. Once it was turned on things cooled down later on Tuesday, he said.    

    Mayor Dave Genereux said anytime you put a lot of people in one room together, especially at a rock concert, "it's going to get a little warm."   

    While it's expected the BLC would invest its share of any profits in the youth hockey program, the city is looking to reduce the CSC's budget deficit by cutting expenses and boosting revenue. Still, council members wondered if it might not be best to put a portion of any profits in a set-aside fund for future concerts at the CSC.   

    That decision can be made later, Genereux said. "As long as we know the money is going to benefit the arena budget somehow, I think we're all OK with that," he said.