Well-Known Acts Keep Low Profile While Rehearsing In Peoria, Ill.

Famous acts are escaping recognition in central Illinois while they rehearse for upcoming tours.

In April, country music star Luke Bryan rehearsed for two days at the Peoria Civic Center, before embarking on his Kick Up the Dust Tour 2015, the (Peoria) Journal Star  reported. His crew and 20 equipment-filled vehicles were in Peoria for eight days without attracting much attention before he arrived.

Other musical acts that have practiced at the Peoria Civic Center include the Jonas Brothers, Foo Fighters and Yanni. The Broadway touring productions “Elf” and “White Christmas” also have used the arena for rehearsals.

The competitive price and central location between Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis make the venue attractive, according to Dan Aspell, marketing manager at the Peoria Civic Center.

Photo: Wade Payne / Invision / AP
CMT Music Awards, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

“And economically, you couldn’t get these prices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles,” he said.

The Civic Center helps the artists keep a low profile by limiting how many people know about the rehearsals and parking some big trucks inside a cavernous exhibit hall.

“Thank goodness we have the space to keep trucks that big inside of the facility,” Aspell said, adding that venues in bigger cities don’t have enough space to promise that kind of anonymity.

Only a few staff members usually are aware of who’s using the space, according to assistant director of booking Adam Smith, who’s responsible for booking rehearsal time and stage shows to fill out the schedule. He was working the box office when the Foo Fighters were in town and didn’t learn of their presence until days later, he said.

The Civic Center will continue to host performers looking for a place to rehearse whenever feasible, Smith said, because it allows the facility generate revenue and helps the local economy.