Todd Hunt is a veteran facility manager with experience in every aspect of the live event industry. For the last nine years Todd has been the Executive Director of the BancorpSouth Arena and Conference Centre. He’s also been an instructor with the IAVM Venue Management School for the last two years and we’re lucky enough to have Todd come and join us at this years VMA Venue Management School in Kingscliff, NSW.
Located between New Orleans and Nashville, BancorpSouth Arena is a venue that relies on a tour’s strategic routing.
“We’re certainly always out there, raising our hand, letting people know that we exist, and maintaining the relationships. Because, you know it’s a true cliché. This industry really is built on relationships.”
Going Above and Beyond
Because this venue is a bit off the beaten path, BancorpSouth’s staff will go the extra mile.
“We’ve got a great staff that works hard, pays attention to detail and goes above and beyond because they understand that we’re not a must-play market like Los Angeles or New York City,” said Hunt. “(The artist) chose us, so we’re going to make sure the guys on the road don’t regret that decision.”
The facility also is designed for efficiency and easy set-ups.
“It’s a super easy building to rig in,” said Hunt. “We get a lot of rehearsals because it’s a great building to work in.”
BancorpSouth makes an effort to personalize dressing rooms for artists and provides an in-house gym within the building for private workouts.
Catering-wise, performers can choose from a number of local restaurants, many of which specialize in Southern cooking, or use their own tour caterer.
“Lots of times folks will want to try fried catfish or pulled pork barbecue, because that’s what we’re known for and do well,” said Hunt. “We have the reputation of being easy to work with. We try our best to make sure there are no surprises and no hiccups while they’re in our house, so artists can focus on what’s ahead of them.”
Paying Homage to the King
Tupelo is best known as the birthplace of Elvis, whose childhood home is a mile from the arena.
“If it’s someone’s first time here, we have to get them over there to do a private tour of Elvis’s birth place and the museum, because that’s our big hook,” said Hunt. “Elton John went straight there from the airport, and Steven Tyler, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page made the trip as well.”
The store where Elvis’s mom bought him his first guitar, the Tupelo Hardware Co., also is just two blocks from the venue.
“The Tupelo Automobile Museum, which has the largest private collection of autos east of the Mississippi, is adjacent to our building,” said Hunt. “If we know that somebody in the band is a big car nut, we’ll walk them over.”