Weddings, parties and private functions are becoming a lucrative source of revenue for the Texan Theater, Tourism and Cultural Resources Coordinator Katie Birk told Athens City Council on Monday.
“The Texan is self-sustaining,” Birk said. “So, that's good news. The reason why is because of these private events.”
City officials have done little advertising for rentals of the facility for private functions.
“So, now we're seeing that Athens has a need for it,” Birk said.
The mission for the Texan, she said, is to “bring local, regional and national live music and other cultural acts to the heart of the historic downtown and provide a venue for other public and private events.”
For 2019, 51 events are scheduled.
“We expected to only get about $21,080 for private event use,” Birk said. “We have well exceeded that. Right now we're at $32,959.”
One advantage the Texan has is its flexibility, Birk said. The portability of the stage helps in reconfiguring the venue for different functions.
If they can book two private events every month and book the same number of public events, it should be enough to “keep the lights on,” Birk said.
The lack of a sound system is a limiting factor for booking events at the Texan.
Birk said the city has to hire a production company to bring a sound system to each of the 13 city-sponsored events at the Texan this year.
That costs about $4,000 per function.
Elizabeth Borstad said city officials balked at buying a system a year ago for about $140,000. Since then, city officials sought prices for a scaled down system.
“All three of those quotes came in right around $40,000,” Borstad said. “I think it's time that we started moving in that direction and have some sort of system there.”
On May 21, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Farm and Ranch Tour will originate and end at the Texan, for the first time.
Birk said the new summer schedule will present several singers and bands, beginning on June 29. The Ally Venable Band headlines, with Full Circle Rising to open the show.