The Appalachian Wireless Arena recently announced a new concert event for Valentine’s Day and continues to persevere through the pandemic to develop its 2021 show lineup.
Appalachian Wireless Arena has not slowed its efforts to book shows in 2021. The arena announced Jan. 8 that it will host CMA and Grammy award-winning country artist Travis Tritt for a new solo acoustic concert at 6 p.m. on Feb. 14. It is the arena’s first concert announcement of 2021.
The venue has also scheduled “The Price is Right” at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 and the East Kentucky Stampede Championship Rodeo, presented by Double Kwik, on March 19-20, with tickets still available.
Appalachian Wireless Arena General Manager Paul Bowles said that they are currently working on about 24 national acts in its lineup for 2021 so far, though not all of the events have been confirmed yet.
“We’re trying to stay ahead of it. We always agreed early on with the city that we would continue to be aggressive on booking,” Bowles said. “Nobody knows when the pandemic’s going to end, but it’s better to keep working on it and have stuff lined up than wait for the pandemic and then start doing it. It’s actually worked out in our favor.”
The arena has faced several challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic related to booking artists and working around state-by-state restrictions as artists route their scheduled tours.
“Some of the artists aren’t willing to be put in an arena setting, which makes it a challenge,” Bowles said. “Every state’s different with its restrictions. You may be able to play Kentucky, but Virginia has a different set of rules. Where they would normally route that way, now they have to find somewhere else they can go. So that’s made it a bit of a challenge. Those have been the issues: seeing what’s out there, can we route it, what kinds of restrictions do we have at the time, what are we able to do and things like that.”
Despite these challenges, Bowles said, the arena has tried to stay ahead of the pandemic. As the state limited capacity for event venues, arena officials created a social distancing map of its 6,000-seat arena space in order to plan for how to operate at about 38 percent capacity.
“Once the Governor’s office released that we could be at 50 percent, we kind of got lucky because our map was at about 38 percent. It worked out for us to put the map out there in front of people — the different agencies in Nashville, LA and New York — and say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re able to do,’” Bowles said. “We’ve got a lot of shows lined up for 2021. Some of those shows are too big to be social distanced in our building so we’re still kind of in the holding pattern for that, while we’re also working on shows that do fit into that social distancing.”
Regarding the newest concert announcement, Travis Tritt will perform in an intimate solo, acoustic setting during the Feb. 14 concert. He has sold out shows for more than 25 years across the country, and during the show, he will perform some of his biggest hits, including “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” “It’s a Great Day to be Alive” and “Best of Intentions.” He will also share personal stories and anecdotes about his life and his musical influences.
“It’s a phenomenal show,” Bowles said. “Travis Tritt has just gotten better with age, so we’re tickled to death to have him come.”
Tickets start at $36 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. Tickets will be available online at, Ticketmaster.com, or at the Community Trust Bank Box Office. Additional processing fees apply to all ticket sales.
The arena has put guidelines in place for the concert to protect against COVID-19. Attendees will need to stay in their seats unless using the restroom or purchasing merchandise or food/beverages. Masks or facial coverings are required unless eating and drinking while in your seat. Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the venue, and capacity has been reduced to allow for social distancing. Seating has been assigned in groups of one, two, three, four, five or six seats. Each group must be purchased in its entirety. Social distancing line queues will be marked for concessions, ticketing and merchandise.
Bowles said he has high hopes for what the arena will bring in 2021, as well as the acts that they are working to confirm for the new year.
“Hopefully, we can get all of them confirmed and going, and hopefully the pandemic will be in the distant past for all of it and we’re back to some normalcy,” he said.
Tickets are also still available for “The Price is Right” and the East Kentucky Stampede Championship Rodeo. For more information, visit the Community Trust Bank Box Office or, www.appalachianwirelessarena.com.