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More Black Eyed Peas please

On Tuesday afternoon, Shanna McSwain had a feeling that she was going to have a good, good night. 

"I bartend for the arena. I think its gonna be a good crowd because there’s been a lot of hype."

Most days you'll find McSwain, owner of Hot Doggin It, Inc., working her concessions cart at various events around Northeast Florida.  However, last night belonged to thirsty fans of The Black Eyed Peas.

Shanna McSwain
Hot Doggin It, Inc.

"I heard that ticket sales were good and I'm expecting a good turnout," said McSwain.

As a part-timer with the Arena, McSwain has the opportunity to see a snapshot of the business side of cultural events like concerts, plays, and artistic performances.  Even with the current economic downturn, her colleagues are buzzing about the success of Arena's recent shows. 

Friday, the Arena welcomed comedian/actor Dane Cook, followed by Grammy-Award winning musician John Mayer, "I heard sales were insane," said McSwain. 

In fact, events are so important, that the city has a division dedicated to facilitating various community festivities.

According to the City of Jacksonville's Office of Special Events, upcoming celebrations like the annual Jazz Festival and World of Nations Celebration "are vital to our community, its ability to thrive, and to be seen as an ideal destination for visitors."

In addition to providing entertainment for thousands in Jacksonville's metropolitan area, social and cultural events provide much needed revenue.  The Office says the economic impact is approximately $200 million every year.

While the recent shows at the Arena are not considered city events, they still provide lucrative opportunities for Jacksonville-area residents.

"It was great," says McSwain after last night's show.  Noting fan reaction to the elaborate choreography and stage presentation of The Black Eyed Peas, McSwain continues, "the crowd was awesome.  The bands sounded fantastic, I really enjoyed listening to Ludacris, beverage sales were really good, and the fans were really cool." 

Up next for the Arena is urban pop culture sensation Tyler Perry with his latest traveling stage play, Madea's Big Happy Family.  Other February events include concerts by margarita master Jimmy Buffett and Canadian alternative rockers Three Days Grace.  Wrapping up the month is a visit from the legendary Harlem Globetrotters

For ticket information visit the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena online.



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