Cuthbert Shed Revamp

Eugene, Ore., officials are looking to hire outside management to run the 4,500-seat Cuthbert Amphitheater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. They hope to give the shed a leg up after disappointing sales.

The city-run venue, which has its season from June to September, has been hosting fewer shows over the last few years for various reasons, according to Mark Loigman, PAC director of operations. Where the shed’s schedule has dwindled, bookings for the PAC’s 500-seat theatre and 2,500-seat concert hall are on the rise.

“We’ve gone from a high of about a dozen shows over the past number of years to a low this past season of six shows booked — four shows in reality because two canceled,” Loigman told Pollstar. “This past season of four actual shows has been the lowest in about 10 years.

“There’s a lot of free and low-cost concerts in the region now — everywhere from the Portland Zoo to free community concerts — so people are reacting, I think, to that high artist fee which translates into high ticket prices. Maybe they don’t want to pay $50 to $100 to sit outside anymore.”

Loigman said organizers have been proactive in seeking promoters open to bringing events to the shed but there hasn’t been much interest. That prompted city officials to send out a Request For Proposals to find companies with a fresh approach.

“Obviously, the City of Eugene is better at other things. We run a very, very good inside performing arts center but we don’t really have the staff or the resources to really commit ourselves fully to an outside amphitheatre,” he said. “We’re looking for proposals to be creative and to come up with the best uses. It could be events, it could be concerts, it could be some other use that we haven’t thought of.

“We’re not looking for someone to come in for just a year, give it a big, grand shot and then go away. We want someone who’s going to have some longevity here so they can offer something to the citizens.”

City officials are accepting RFP applications through November 15th. Each will be evaluated based on criteria including creativity, potential city income and company background.

Loigman said officials hope to have a selection wrapped up by early next year.

— Tina Amendola