If there's one thing that's stalled the revitalization of downtown, it has to be the complete dogshit event booking that's gone on. In the few years that the Arena has been open, there's been exactly one event that they've had that made any of us go "Oh shit! I have to go to that!" (the EliteXC fights).
To be fair we never thought the Arena was a good idea. We're too close in proximity to not one, not two, but 4 major cities with better venues. Who in their right mind would skip over San Jose, SF, or Oakland to come to little ol' Stockton? Just Gwen Stefani apparently.
Besides the Hollaback girl, we've been treated to a cornucopia of county fair-level talent (and we're including Hannah Montana in that category). Part of the problem, as we've stated before, is the piss poor job done advertising events that come downtown. It sends the message to promoters considering Stockton that we won't help at all. And when we do help, it's to the wrong people and done the wrong way. $75,000 of taxpayer money and what did we get? A shitload of now embarassing billboards. (Please tell us that those "postponed" signs aren't going to be up until the Rodeo allegedly happens next year.)
Advertising problems aside, the main problem is fairly obvious. Events we want to see aren't coming to Stockton. IFG's job is to attract promoters to Stockton, they're not doing their job. The problem is, they're not looking in the right places. We may not be big time promoters, but even we can think up 5 events that should not only be easily bookable, but they'll actually sell tickets. That's right, Top 5 downtown events that need to happen. (Note: We did next to zero research on this list, so feel free to tell us if we're wrong or if they've already attempted these things.) Let's do the damn thing.
Play a Thunder game outdoors at Banner Island Ballpark
We'd worry a bit about ice refridgeration issues outside, but the Arena's track record with that hasn't exactly been sterling so we can look past it. The NHL's attempts at outdoor hockey were regarded as successes, so why can't we do it? We're not the biggest hockey fans, but outdoor hockey intrigues us. We can only assume other casual fans might give it a shot too. Great way to advertise the city and garner some interest in a team that, let's face it, isn't very interesting.
Bring back the HS state wrestling tournament
Alright, as former high school wrestlers we'll admit we're a little biased with this one. But Stockton clearly misses the boost the economy got when the best wrestlers from all over the state came to Stockton for a few days. The tournament left for Bakersfield when it outgrew the Spanos Center. Now we have a bigger venue and a convienently located hotel to house them, it's time to try and lure them back. IFG, we're looking at you. Speaking of tournaments...
Collaborate with UOP for a college basketball tournament at the Arena
When we had the initial idea for this list a while ago, one of the ideas tossed around was bringing the Kings back to Stockton. Since that's already happened, this seems like a great alternative. Like the state tournament, bringing in a bunch of college basketball players from all over the country would boost the economy and get people going downtown. All it takes is one decent sized team to anchor the thing as the attraction school (Gonzaga anybody?) and people should come out to see a big time program that we really never get during UOP's regular season. Depending on pricing, a few full days of college basketball at the arena would be a steal. Plus, holding it at the Arena means you can (gasp) drink at a fucking basketball game like God intended.
Book events at the Fox/Bob Hope that people under the age of 40 (but over the age of 15) want to see
The booking of the Bob Hope Theatre has always been fucking horrible. The last time we went there was for the Too Short/Chingy concert a few years back. Chingy was allegedly the headliner, but more than half the audience left after Too Short's set. It was a classic example of how little promoters "get" us. If there's one complaint we have about the booking of any event downtown, it's that there's next to nothing geared towards the college-aged resident. Which is funny since there's 2 fucking colleges in town. And if there's one thing college kids cum all over themselves for, it's indie bands that don't get much mainstream radio play. These are the bands that would actually consider playing a show in Stockon because they're in SF for another show anyways.
Plus, they're cheap. You're trying to tell us you can't afford to bring a band like Cursive or Modest Mouse to Stockton? Bullshit. The people in charge of luring acts have just never heard of them because they haven't been kids since dinosaurs were used as kitchen appliances. Try asking that Middagh guy for help. We hear he knows a few bands and how to lure them to Stockton.
Come on, you had to see this one coming. We're not talking about a secretive beer olympics like the movie of the same name (although that would be a great idea, and we'd win), we want a beer convention. We've stated time and time again that the only thing to do in this town is drink, so why not get together once a year and do so? If the St. Patrick's Day party that Bradley's throws is any indication, it should be fairly popular. But those guys are thinking small scale. We suggest talking with the area's various mircrobreweries (Lodi Beer Co, Valley Brew, BJs (to some extent) and put on a full scale convention.
Also, if we were in charge, we wouldn't allow any wine. All those old white fucks talking about the difference between two types of $12 supermarket wine just get in the way of our good time. If there's going to be any sort of snobbery there, it's going to be... "What's the alcohol content of your beer?" "I'm drinking a Budweiser." "You fucking pussy, try this Indian Pale Ale. It's at 15%, that'll put hair on your momma's nutsack!"
We kid of course. If history's proven anything it's that even though there would be numerous quality beers at this hypothetical event, everybody would be sipping on lukewarm Coronas like pussies. But hey, book pretty much any bar band and put up a bunch of booths and banners and you got a halfway decent event on your hands.
Of course none of these events will probably happen because they make too much sense. Dealing with Stockton promoters and businesses that know the area and don't look like dickholes in cowboy hats? Horrible idea.