Sign of the Times

Michigan’s capital city has always been a lively one, and it has only gotten more colorful in recent years. A healthy dose of diversification in Lansing’s infrastructure portfol…

Michigan’s capital city has always been a lively one, and it has only gotten more colorful in recent years. A healthy dose of diversification in Lansing’s infrastructure portfolio has given the local economy a huge boost, drawing in crowds that stray far from just the city’s government, education and automotive roots. From insurance agencies to particle accelerators, new industries – and more importantly new money – are being poured into the region at an unanticipated rate. 

As is typical with any significant metropolitan area, economic prosperity brings about a new lease on life for a region’s entertainment industry. Throughout America’s rollicking economic history, peaks and troughs in the health of the economy unsurprisingly match up almost exactly with the performance of entertainment-based businesses nationwide. Happy consumers with deep pockets tend to be more apt to get out to have fun. Lansing is full of fun-seekers, and with the region’s economy on the rise, local entertainment venues are shaping up to accommodate the bullish times. 

The Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority is the managing parent organization of a number of entertainment venues in the Lansing area, namely Cooley Law School Stadium, the Lansing Center, and Groesbeck Golf Course. To boot, LEPFA established Center Park Productions, a key contributor in founding Lansing’s Common Ground Music Festival. 

“We have definitely experienced a steady growth in attendance and revenue over the last couple of years,” said LEPFA President and CEO Scott Keith. “We are experiencing a lot of consumer confidence. The dollar is strong, so people have more expendable income.”

In addition to the strength of the national and local economy, Keith cited Lansing’s recent string of new, “hip” events as a reason for LEPFA venues’ increasing success.

“Margarita Festival, Lansing Ignite and even the types of bands we are booking for various events come to mind as creative, up-to-date events in the region,” Keith said. 

With all this new business, LEPFA facilities have also seen an increase in on-site sales, with Keith describing the previously stated newfound consumer confidence as the driving factor for customers buying another beverage or dropping money on merchandise. A lively community with deeper pockets has done wonders for LEFPA’s cluster of Lansing favorite venues. 

Another exciting local institution thrill-seekers are opting to break their piggy banks for is the Prime Music Festival. Introducing itself to Lansing as the premier collegiate-centric music festival during summer 2017, Prime has since cemented itself as a staple for Lansing’s party crowd. Not unlike Lansing’s economy, Prime’s audience has seen a fair bit of expansion and diversification during the short but transformative time spent in the region. 

“When we first came to Lansing, we were a college-based festival across the board,” said Cristian Daraban, Prime’s marketing director. “Naturally our demographic was 18-24, but what we’re seeing as music festivals become more popularized is an audience in the 25-34-year-old range, young professionals.” 

Seeing a larger, broader demographic has allowed Prime to introspect on pricing, hitting what Daraban called the “sweet spot.” 

“We’ve looked into how we’ve performed, our lineups and other festivals’ performances and lineups and we’ve found a ticket price that allows a festival-goer to explore other experiences once they are in the festival,” said Daraban. “It could be food, beverages or even activations set up by our sponsors.” 

Prime has been meticulous in its branding, pairing a wide variety of festival experiences with carefully curated lineups and accumulated goodwill to market its products and services beautifully to the fun-hungry newcomers in the Greater Lansing area. 

Lansing is experiencing a glimmering moment of industrious growth, and the local entertainment industry is revamping to match. Along with expanding businesses to accommodate the new revenue, Lansing entertainment institutions are embracing diversification and an understanding of the new, larger crop of consumers to find success in this thriving environment.


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