POCATELLO — Officials with the Bannock County Event Center are finalizing agreements to offer a full slate of bands and public events this summer, after canceling most of last summer’s activities due to the coronavirus.
A country music concert series, an outdoor monster truck show, a large soccer tournament, a circus and a free concert featuring the Idaho State-Civic Symphony are among the likely new events this summer.
Guy Patterson, business manager and event director for the Portneuf Wellness Complex, Event Center and Bannock County Fairgrounds, said the county is also committed to bringing back a free movie series and restoring the community’s large-scale Independence Day celebration.
Furthermore, Patterson anticipates booking several acts that canceled performances last summer at the Event Center’s Portneuf Health Trust Amphitheatre, including Megadeth, For King & Country and Hairball.
“We’re working to try to get it back to where we have a full fun season of activities here at the complex for the local public,” Patterson said.
For King & Country tickets go on sale on Feb. 28. The Australian Christian pop duo, scheduled to perform July 31, was originally booked for last season.
Heavy metal enthusiasts will be treated to a concert featuring Megadeth and Lamb of God later this summer. The acts were booked for last season before being canceled due to COVID-19 and are tentatively scheduled for Sept. 7. Megadeth, formed in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, is considered one of the “big four” heavy metal acts. Megadeth is the sole concert on the agenda promoted by Live Nation Entertainment of Salt Lake City.
Hairball, an arena rock cover band whose members dress up like the bands they’re covering, also had to cancel a date at the facility last summer and has agreed to come this season. The tentative concert date is May 22.
Live Nation contractually had the exclusive right to book concerts at the amphitheater until Patterson renegotiated the contract last spring. Patterson is in the process of working out a contract with a Boise-based promoter who has agreed to book six or more concerts per year. Patterson explained that the promoter hopes to bring in a summer concert series featuring up-and-coming country acts, as well as some longtime country bands.
Patterson said he’s on the verge of finalizing details of what would be the county’s biggest local show in five years. It would be a country act scheduled for August, but it’s too early to identify the band, Patterson said.
Patterson said he’s close to inking separate deals to bring both a circus and a monster truck show to the facility. He said the company that puts on the monster truck show hasn’t been to Pocatello in several years. He said they have some dates open in May, and they believe there is pent-up excitement for activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re confident enough they want to do shows two days in a row,” Patterson said.
Patterson is working with Warrior Soccer Tour in St. George, Utah, to bring a large-scale soccer tournament to the event center. The tournament would likely draw about 40 teams and would serve as a qualifying event for soccer finals in Florida. Patterson explained teams consist of age groups ranging from 5 through adults, and there are three-on-three, five-on-five and seven-on-seven formats.
The county has been in discussions with the Idaho State-Civic Symphony about hosting an annual free concert at the amphitheater. Patterson said the concert would likely be hosted in September, when the symphony’s season starts.
“We’re in the very early stages of this,” Patterson said.
Finally, the county intends to bring back a summer movie series, involving free screenings of films that have recently been released to DVD at the Portneuf Wellness Complex. The county offered 10 free films last summer but didn’t promote the series heavily due to COVID-19.
Patterson said the county plans to show at least 10 films this summer and will do more promotion. Cartoons and superhero films are crowd favorites, he said. Patterson said the county is interested in finding local businesses that will sponsor specific movies to help defray costs of licensing rights.