On Monday it was announced that the Miller Theater had fired ASM Global, the company formerly known as SMG. ASM was operating under a five-year, fee-plus-incentive management contract for the 1,325-seat venue which opened in January of 2018. The Augusta Symphony will take over management duties.
According to the PollStar Venue Tour History Report, the headline shows reported from Saturday January 06, 2018 through Thursday February 13, 2020 reflect soft attendance for many of the 103 ticketed events.
Details from the report reviewed by the Metro Spirit reflect:
- 41% of the performances sold 50% or less of the theater’s capacity.
- 26% of the overall performances had under 500 in attendance.
- 35% of the sell-outs reported by POLLSTAR (8 of 23) were for the Augusta Symphony.
Promoters had been concerned about the overly aggressive booking schedule, which resulted in poorly attended concerts and events, leaving some feeling their interests had not been protected by the venue, citing frustration with the lack of promotion or focus on their particular shows.
Over an eight day period in November of 2018, for example, the Miller Theater hosted five large shows over an eight day span; Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson, Iron & Wine, the Charlie Daniels Band and Dwight Yoakam.
The later two country acts were on consecutive nights.
Attendance over the five shows averaged 767, or 58% of capacity.
For the sake of the overall health of the entertainment market in Augusta, hopefully the venue’s new management will protect its promoters with a more thoughtful approach to booking their calendar, such as not putting similar shows and genres on top of one another.
As far as the Miller Theater moving forward, according to the Augusta Chronicle, the theater “will be closed until further notice” amid the mandatory closings, but that its upcoming 2020-21 season, which is currently in the subscription renewal process, “will not be impacted in any way.”
“All concerts for next season, including the rescheduled ‘Passion’ concert for Sept. 17, 2020, are moving forward as planned,” Augusta Symphony Executive Director Anne Catherine Murray said in a statement, according to the Chronicle.
“While the Miller Theater is retooling its business model, I want to reassure the community that we will be reopening the doors as soon as possible and look forward to sharing the home of the Augusta Symphony with you again later this summer.”
To learn the history of the Miller Theater, along with the path back from being mothballed to marvelous, click HERE.