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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Autos By Nelson - Click for Website
Harvester revenue tops $250,000
Attendance, tickets sales exceed expectations
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Staff Photo: Attendance at concerts at the new Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount has exceeded expectations with over 7,000 music fans in two months of operation. More than 80 percent of all attendees are coming from outside of Franklin County.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rocky Mount's new performance center has gotten off to a strong start in both finances and attendance.

The town executive in charge of developing the Harvester Performance Center told Rocky Mount Town Council recently that the center will take in over $250,000 in revenue in its first three months.

Assistant Town Manager Matthew Hankins updated town council on the Harvester's financial performance at its June work session.

"The Harvester has crossed over $150,000 in online ticket sales, and other operational revenue combined with those sales will exceed a quarter-million dollars by the end of June," Hankins said Monday. "We are well on our way to proving our business model."

Hankins told council he believes the venue will have a profitable quarter and a profitable first year. To date, the venue has hosted 34 concerts and will soon begin booking other events in its lower-level conference and meeting center.

"We don't have all of the expenses added in and won't until the quarter is complete, but it appears that the vast majority of our shows were profitable," Hankins said. "My staff and I are going to make every effort to ensure this venture continues its strong start."

The number of fans is also ahead of the pace Hankins expected in developing the business model.

"Attendance has also exceeded expectations," Hankins said. "We've had over 7,000 people come through in just over two months of operation. I anticipated the venue would be financially successful if we had around 24,500 people in the first year."

"If the Harvester continues at the current pace, we will have over 40,000 people through the doors in the first year," he added.

Over 90 percent of the online sales are to music fans from outside of Franklin County, and over 80 percent of all attendees are coming from outside of Franklin County.

"We've had people here from at least 14 states that we know of, from as far away as Washington state, Washington D.C., Wyoming, Arizona, Vermont, Illinois and Texas," Hankins said. "We had folks here last week from the Philippines, and we know folks from England will be here for a show in August. We've also had strong walk-up business from local folks on show nights."

Hankins credited the Harvester's staff and volunteers for making the opening so successful.

"Harvester Manager Gary Jackson has booked some great talent and developed our reputation, and Assistant Manager Sheila Silverstein has promoted the venue very well, getting the Harvester brand established," Hankins said. "We're also doing well because we have many talented volunteers who are dedicating their free time to operate our venue and help establish Rocky Mount as a music destination."

Hankins told town council that artists and fans are very happy with their Harvester experiences.

"I stand at the door on most nights and thank people for coming to the shows," said Hankins. "I've had hundreds of people hug me, high-five me, shake hands and thank me and the town for developing this great musical experience for them."

Jackson continues to work on booking new shows and has strong lineups for July, August and September. In the past week, the Harvester has announced new fall shows, including Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart, blues guitarist John Hammond, folk rocker Paul Thorn and more, with more shows announced every week.

For information on the schedule of shows or the venue, visit or call 540-GUITARS (484-8277). The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and at 4 p.m. on show days.

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Harvester Center - Town of Rocky Mount - Click for Website