Share Your Memories! Lakefront Arena Gears Up for 30th Anniversary
Lakefront Arena, a 10,000-seat arena located on 90 acres on the University of New Orleans east campus, opened 30 years ago on Nov. 1, with a concert by Lionel Richie and the Pointer Sisters.
Since then, hundreds of major touring productions have played Lakefront Arena including, more recently: Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Robin Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Josh Groban, Salt-n-Pepa, Wiz Khalifa, the Lumineers, Jason Mraz, Three Doors Down, Motley Crue, Destiny's Child, Jeff Dunham, Motley Crue, Destiny's Child, Wiz Khalifa and the Lumineers. The arena is also home to a variety of sporting events, fairs, festivals and family shows such as Disney Live!, Disney on Ice! and Sesame Street Live!
Since Nov. 1, 1983, Lakefront Arena has seen more than 12 million visitors, including more than four million visitors attending live concerts. This week, the arena celebrates its history and cultural connections with the city -- as well as 30 years of fantastic success -- in a variety of ways. High on the list is a spectacular giveaway.
This week brings the return of grassroots Southern Rock band Widespread Panic and a popular tradition. Widespread Panic plays an annual three-day Halloween festival that runs Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at the arena, 6801 Franklin Avenue. Opening bands include: New Orleans Suspects, a local all-star band featuring ex-Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan and Neville Brothers drummer Willie Green, on Nov. 1 and rock band Bonerama on Nov. 2.
"They play some of their major hits every night, but every show will be different," said Marco Perez, general manager.
In honor of the 30th anniversary celebration, Lakefront Arena will give away four VIP box seat tickets for each of the three evening concerts. Three lucky winners and their guests will be chosen at random.
The contest calls on fans to tweet photos of their favorite memory at the arena using the hashtag #LakefrontArena. Submissions begin Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. and run through midnight Wednesday, Oct. 30. A winner will be selected at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, and at 2 p.m. on Friday. Winners must present ID and will pick up their tickets at the Will Call booth at the arena. The arena requests that participants only submit photos if they are available to attend.
Arena officials will choose some of their favorite submissions to feature on the University of New Orleans and Lakefront Arena Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, and Google+ pages.
Blues-inspired southern rock band Widespread Panic has created a dedicated road-warrior following similar to that of the Grateful Dead since the 1980s. The band -- known for its strong musicianship, frequency of tours and amazing live shows -- has been compared to Phish, Dave Matthews, Phish, Blues Traveler, Gathering Field, String Cheese Incident, The Ominous Seapods and The Freddy Jones Band.
The "neo-hippie jam band" ranked among the top 50 grossing touring acts for eight consecutive years without substantial radio play, television appearances or retail store promotion, promoters say, attributing the band's renown to grassroots success.
Before taking a break in 2003, the band played annually for 18 years, performing more than 100 shows and broke sell-out records at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Philips Arena and UNO Lakefront Arena. In 2005, Widespread Panic returned to the road.
Now the popular festival is back and four lucky people will enjoy free seats and a prime viewing spot.
"We're proud and grateful to have had 12 million visitors at Lakefront Arena and we're looking forward to many great shows ahead," said Perez. "This is truly a facility where you 'see more, hear more and get more.'"