Less than two months after taking over as manager at The Arena, Kristi Balla announced two of the biggest acts to ever play Corbin in classic rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd and comedian and actor Bill Engvall.
“It just worked with their booking agent and management,” Balla said when asked how she was able to secure the legendary band to play the 6,000 seat facility. It was a right-place-right-time situation.”
Balla said when she took the reigns at The Arena, she knew she wanted to bring a larger variety of events, especially rock shows, to the facility.
“The first two things I did was the Rock Returns show and Skynyrd,” Balla said noting when she checked she learned the closest to Corbin Lynyrd Skynyrd had recently played was Cherokee, North Carolina.
Engvall, who is best known for his events co-staring Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy, was slated to perform at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond on December 9.
“Logistically, Bill had been in Lexington before and so they wanted to move the show further south,” Balla explained.
Along with expanding range of acts coming to The Arena, Balla has been expanding the range of advertising.
A commercial for the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert ran during a break in Sunday’s season premier of the AMC hit show “The Walking Dead.”
The commercial also ran during a break on WWE Monday Night Raw wrestling.
Balla said her goal is to draw fans to The Arena, not only from Corbin and the tri-county area, but also across the state and neighboring states such as Tennessee and Virginia.
Ball had previously announced The American Made Tour with Justin Moore and Lee Brice on January 19.
The Harlem Globetrotters will return on January 23.
Balla said she would have one more big event announcement before Christmas and others in January.
“I want to have a full calendar,” Balla said adding her ultimate goal is to have 10 big shows per year.
“Luckily, I have a really good network of people who I have known for a really long time,” she said.
“You would be surprised who we can get,” Balla said.
Balla said she is working directly with the management of the respective talent to book them to play Corbin.
The Corbin City Commission recently approved a $300,000 line of credit for The Arena to be used to book more events.
“That money will be used to pay the deposits,” Balla said adding that tickets sales from the respective events would be used to repay the loan and pay the artists.
Balla said events such as the 13th Region High School Basketball Tournament, the monster trucks show and the annual Christmas Bazaar will continue.
In addition, The Arena will host the 13th Region Cheer Competition on November 19.
“I have some other family events in my back pocket,” Balla said.
Balla said her ultimate goal is to turn The Arena into one of the economic engines in Corbin and the area.
“We are that beacon,” Balla said. “We have to get that flames going again to really help the local businesses.”
Balla said as part of the effort to do so, the redesigned arena website, www.thecorbinarena.com, includes listings of the local restaurants and hotels.
In addition, Balla said she has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who have liked and are following The Arena Facebook page.
“There is a buzz going,” Balla said.
“So far, so good,” she said.