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Alltel Pavilion, ESA Continue To Change Triangle's Entertainment Landscape

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RALEIGH — Whether you listen to pop, rock or country music, there is nothing like watching your favorite performer live and in concert. Chances of your favorite entertainer coming to the Triangle are improving with two major venues.

When big acts like Faith Hill and Tim McGraw come to Raleigh, theEntertainment and Sports Arenacan pack a crowd in no time.

Jesse Burroughs was willing to take the drive from Fayetteville to see the two entertainers.

"To see these guys, they don't come to Fayetteville that often so sometimes you have to make the sacrifice and drive," Burroughs says.

Davin Olsen, general manager of the Entertainment and Sports Arena, says the new venue has helped to change the Triangle's entertainment landscape.

"We bring a lot of the top names into the building," Olsen says. "I think that we have only had two shows that have not sold out."

With the emergence of the ESA, many wonder about the fate of Raleigh's other major entertainment venue,Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek. For more than a decade, concert fans went to the amphitheater for the big names. Some fans say they will not give up the outside setting of Alltel Pavilion.

"Walnut Creek is nice because you can see on the grass," says Rocky Mount resident Mark Luttrell. "Both (venues) have their good aspects."

Walnut Creek's manager says the Pavilion set the standard for the newer Entertainment and Sports Arena."

"Is there competition? Yes, a little bit," Olsen says. "But their time period is when we are down so it is a good mix for everybody."

Ironically, the promoter at the ESA owns Walnut Creek. Even though the two venues compete for big names, the promoter makes sure the two venues are not competing for the same entertainers at the same time.


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