ETG complex embracing musical concerts alongside sporting events

·3 min read

Jul. 10—DUENWEG, Mo. — Home to 26 sports courts and fields spanning 27 acres fronting Prosperity Avenue, the ETG complex, formerly the Four Seasons Sports Complex, caters heavily to sports.

However, the arena offers 22,000 square feet of indoor space, which allows ETG owners JC Burd, Lance and James Ledford, and Chris Goodwin to begin serving a market that has little to do with traditional athletics.

Last month's Tech N9ne concert opened the four men's eyes to the possibility that ETG can become a premiere venue for big-name musical concerts, allowing area residents to stay close to home and avoid traveling to Kansas City or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This is something "that Joplin doesn't have," Goodwin said, referring to viable entertainment venues with plentiful seating. Over the years, "Joplin is getting skipped by and looked over numerous times due to the amount of seats that we don't have here."

The June 19 Tech N9ne concert — which drew a packed crowd with people lining up hours before the 8:30 p.m. show began — "really opened the door for us," Goodwin said. "I-44 is an entertainment throughway, and we're just two miles off of it. The whole idea is to bring people here."

The rock band Saving Abel, rapper Haystak and Springfield-based tribute band Members Only have all performed at ETG this year. and following in Tech N9ne's footsteps will be rapper and songwriter Juicy J, performing at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20. Tickets went on sale this week, and this particular concert should cater to the early-20s demographics, said ETG's marketing director, Payton Layne.

Goodwin also confirmed that ETG has landed the "very final date" of the Summerland Tour 2021 — Friday, Sept. 17. The tour features rock bands Everclear, Living Colour and Hoobastank. Details and ticket information will be announced soon.

While bringing rappers and rock bands to Joplin will appeal to the 20- and 30-somethings, ETG owners hope to bring in "big-name country acts" to Joplin by using the vast acreage outdoors; names dropped by Goodwin included the country duo Maddie & Tae and the Eli Young Band.

They also plan to hold, at some point, a multiday bluegrass show that could include a handmade market and camping opportunities at the 160-acre Duenweg Fairgrounds.

"It's not always about loudness," Goodwin said. "We can (offer) options for everyone."

That's key "because we live in a community where we have to be well-rounded to survive," he said. "You can't just single out one group or one (genre)."

Alongside the musical entertainment will be sports entertainment, such as bull riding, MMA fights and boxing.

Both Goodwin and Lance Ledford said they hope to carry on the legacy of Memorial Hall, which from the 1980s through the early 1990s held concerts for the likes of Willie Nelson, Chicago, Robert Plant, Randy Travis, Sammy Hagar and the Charlie Daniels Band, as well as a performance by one of the world's bestselling musical artists.

"We need to bring back Garth Brooks," Ledford said with a chuckle.

To check out ETG's sports offerings or scheduled events, visit www.etgsports.com.

Kevin McClintock is features editor for The Joplin Globe.

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