Big names, new acts have Pueblo Memorial Hall on track to break records
The venue has seen a slow but steady climb in attendance since 2021.
Bolstered by big names and increased interest, Pueblo Memorial Hall is on pace this year to surpass attendance numbers it hasn’t seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through August, about 30,000 people had attended a show at Pueblo Memorial Hall this year, positioning the venue to exceed the approximately 39,000 who visited in 2019 and the record 45,000 who showed up in 2016, said Kevin Ortiz, general manager of the Pueblo Convention Center and Pueblo Memorial Hall.
“It’s probably been the best (year the venue) has had since the hall was renovated,” Ortiz said. "We’re looking to have a record-breaking year in terms of attendance and revenue made based on the content that we’ve brought in. We started off the year with some sold-out shows and it’s really kind of trickled into the remainder of the year.”
Ortiz and his staff earlier this year welcomed two notable names — comedian Theo Von and country star Chris Janson — whose shows attracted large crowds. A tribute production for the beloved Mexican-American singer Selena was also well attended. Some local and regional dance competitions, as well as Broadway and ballet performances, generated interest among Puebloans and tourists.
The end-of-summer slate had some noteworthy acts, too, with comedian Rob Schneider and musicians Cody Cozz and Travis Tritt stopping by to perform in Pueblo.
They were the latest bunch in a laundry list of big names that helped Pueblo Memorial Hall comfortably eclipse the number of attendees it saw through August last year, when around 18,000 people visited to that point. It’s a lock this year's attendance will outdo last year’s total of 30,000, and 2023 has already trumped the 21,000 attendees who came during 2021.
This year's artists have offered completely different experiences, and that variety, at least to Ortiz, is another reason the venue has had such a prosperous year. If more people purchase tickets to different types of acts, venue staff emerges with extra opportunities to attract popular names, he said.
“Our goal is to build relationships with the national promoters and agencies and put Pueblo on the map in terms of being able to bring content to our building,” Ortiz said. “So when they’re looking at routing these artists through Colorado, (we want) Pueblo to be one of the destinations that they’re considering. That hasn’t always been the case, but I think as we continue to show that people will attend these events, promoters and agencies will continue to book with us.”
Pueblo Memorial Hall booked a mix of local and national acts to close out 2023, which Ortiz feels will help the venue push past that record number. Puebloans undoubtedly will play a part in that, but people from Colorado Springs and Denver should too. Venue staff have data that show zip codes where people bought tickets and those are two areas that frequently come up.
Zip codes in other regions of southern Colorado and parts of New Mexico also tend to appear in the data, Ortiz said.
“We’re pulling a lot of people from eastern Colorado and the western side of it, and depending on the show, we’re getting people from (Colorado) Springs and Denver,” Ortiz said. “It’s really a boost to not only get these people to come to attend these shows and see our community, but I think it impacts our economy locally as well.”
There are a trio of shows from Pueblo’s Broadway Theater League slated for 2024 at Pueblo Memorial Hall. “Chicago” and “Come From Away,” a pair of musicals, are two that should generate intrigue among local and regional audiences. It might not matter that both will take place on weekdays, as people this year haven’t shied away from attending those types of showings, Ortiz said.
“Memorial Hall is just one of those areas for people to really gather and enjoy themselves,” Ortiz said. “On top of that, I think Pueblo is really starting to be on the cusp of booming in terms of people coming to our community. The more our community continues to grow and keep up with the trends, it’s just going to have a positive impact.”
Chieftain reporter Josue Perez can be reached at JHPerez@gannett.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @josuepwrites. Support local news, subscribe to The Pueblo Chieftain at subscribe.chieftain.com.