Disco act’s crowd disappoints, but Corn Palace aims for future successThe ’70s disco band Boogie Wonderland performed Saturday at the Corn Palace for 387 people.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
Not every event at the Corn Palace draws thousands of screaming fans, but Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling hopes Boogie Wonderland will eventually be one of those shows.
The ’70s disco band performed Saturday at the Corn Palace for 387 people. The goal was 500, but the rainy weather and chilly temperatures also played a role in the size of the crowd, Schilling said.
“The crowd numbers weren’t as large as what we would have liked, but we knew going in it’s got to be something we’re going to have to build off of,” he said.
The ’80s band Hairball had a similar showing when it first played in Mitchell a few years ago. Now that group packs the Palace with at least 2,000 fans. Schilling is hopeful Boogie Wonderland will become a larger, more popular show, following in the dance steps of Hairball.
“It’s hard to market an unknown show,” he said.
Boogie Wonderland is part of a busier schedule, designed by Schilling and the Corn Palace Committee to bring more activities to the city-owned arena that aren’t necessarily offered elsewhere in town or the region. Since the annual Corn Palace Festival closed in September, the Palace has hosted various events, including volleyball matches, a bull-riding event and a September concert by country singers Billy Currington and Jake Owen.
“We’ve heard from the public they need more to do,” Schilling said. “We see people wanting to do more with their entertainment dollars and this gives them more opportunities to do things here in Mitchell.”
Boogie Wonderland is based in the Twin Cities and is working to branch out regionally, Schilling said. Perhaps one reason the show didn’t draw as many people is due to the disco theme. He said the group performed songs from the ’70s and the early ’80s, including “Dancing Queen,” “Funkytown,” “Celebration,” “We Should Be Dancing” and “December ’63.”
The show brought in slightly less than $5,000 in ticket sales and it cost $5,000 to hire Boogie Wonderland. So, with concessions sales, Schilling figures the Corn Palace will about break even.
“We’ve had several of these where it’s almost like a wash, with a couple of hundred dollars either way,” he said. “At the same time, we’re looking at the next show with the Oak Ridge Boys. If all things hold true with where ticket sales are at now, we’re in the black already for that show.”
So far, the Palace has sold 1,100 tickets to the Oak Ridge Boys, the 1970s and ’80s country stars who will play the venue Dec. 20. Schilling hopes ticket sales will push 2,000. He said the Palace capacity is about 2,800, depending on set-up, and he hopes the Oak Ridge Boys fill most of the seats.
“It is just a great show to land for Christmas, even when we could be dealing with unknowns like the weather,” Schilling said.