SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The entertainment schedule at the Goss Opera House in Watertown is drawing audience members who are also overnight guests in the city.
“We’re drawing attendees from a 150-mile radius,” said Jamie Mack, the executive director of the Opera House. Residents of western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota, “are looking for events to go to,” Mack said.
Lots of those attendees spend a weekend or night in Watertown and visit restaurants and other attractions.
The Opera House offers discounts at local hotels so if a ticket holder uses that discount, they know, Mack said.
“We see the ticketing zip codes,” Mack said, highlighting another way of knowing that shows draw out-of-towners.
Mack said the Opera House works with Visit Watertown or the Watertown Convention and Visitors Bureau on marketing. Lindsay Stangle, the director of marketing and business development for Visit Watertown, said the marketing of the entertainment schedule is organic and not as targeted as marketing for conventions or meetings.
“(Opera House) does a really good job of promoting…,” Stangle said.
“I’m pretty sure that all of the events that I have gone to have been sold out,” Stangle said.
The upcoming season is seven shows from September through April 2024.
“A lot of artists want to play now. There is no shortage of artists,” Mack said. And the Goss’s reputation is growing.
“We are gaining a reputation for our acoustics in the Opera House,” Mack said.
It’s important to book a variety of entertainment, she said. That includes a symphony performance, bands and other artists. Entertainment director Chris Paulson and the staff have ideas for different bands and performers.
“We are a nonprofit, we are not huge, so we can’t pull in those (major) artists,” Mack said.
The venue still draws high-quality artists, she said.
Paulson “does a nice job of finding artists who may be in between two venues…,” Mack said. That can help reduce the cost for those artists. While the Opera House wants Friday or Saturday performances, sometimes a Thursday or Sunday performance is needed to secure the artist, she said.
Last season, the Opera House booked Absolute Queen, a Queen tribute band. This year’s schedule includes Hotel California, an Eagles tribute band.
The schedule also includes Christian rock band Sanctus Real and a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet among the seven dates.
The Opera House seats about 400. About 30% of the ticket sold are to season ticket holders.
Season ticket sales start online or at Maud’s Mercantile on the ground floor of the Goss 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 18. The season tickets are on sale until Sept. 4. Tickets for individual shows start at 10 a.m. on Sept. 8.
A major renovation of the Goss Opera Hall was completed several years ago. It makes the hall more attractive to artists but also for weddings and conferences, Mack said.
Stangle said the Goss offers a more intimate space for conventions than some larger venues. Organizations and businesses looking for different settings and unique experiences can find it in the Goss, she said.
She recently did a site visit with representatives of a group of travel writers. They were impressed by the venue and the spaces it provided for writers, Stangle said.
The Goss lineup also includes dinner and a movie experience, “which is a cool idea,” Stangle added.