Larger crowds at Kettering’s Fraze Pavilion help concert venue’s bottom line

Fraze continues to adjust years after The Rose opened in Huber Heights; Venue went with fewer concerts, got strong reviews

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

KETTERING — Larger concert crowds boosted the Fraze Pavilion’s bottom line this year as Kettering slashed expenses and subsidies for the outdoor venue.

The 4,300-seat Fraze’s average attendance was more than 2,400 for ticketed events — about 300 higher than last year — as it closed the revenue-to-expense gap by about $440,000, according to the city.

This year’s lineup featured fewer events and ticketed shows, but the vast majority of those who paid to see performances gave the pavilion high marks, survey results showed.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

“We were selective about the type of groups we were going to bring and the entertainment that we wanted this year,” said Mary Beth O’Dell, Kettering parks, recreation and cultural arts director.

“And we tried to provide the variety that we always do and manage our expenses as we should,” she added. “So, I think the staff did a really good job.”

The past several years, the Fraze “has faced headwinds with other regional venues that provide entertainment options that directly compete for customers’ time and money,” according to the city.

The Rose Music Center, a 4,200-seat, covered outdoor amphitheater in Huber Heights, was completed in 2015.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Traditionally, Kettering targets an operating loss of $300,000 per year. Expenses for 2022 were about $800,000 more than revenues, but this year that difference was about $361,000, Kettering records show.

This past season featured 23 ticketed events — seven fewer than 2022 — that brought in about $2.3 million, nearly two-thirds of the Fraze’s revenue. Two shows sold out, according to the city.

“We didn’t have as much activity this year as previous years,” O’Dell said. “We approached this year as being mindful of how we wanted to produce the season and really mindful of our expenses.”

Performance attendees gave the city high marks. Post-show survey results show 88% gave the Fraze a four or a five on a five-point scale.

Results of a recent end-of-year survey indicated 85% of responders were satisfied, very satisfied or extremely satisfied, while 96% rated the Fraze as safe or very safe.

“That’s pretty strong,” O’Dell said. “And we continue to get really strong reviews on our service.”

The Fraze and the surrounding Lincoln Park Civic Commons also annually host a variety of free events and festivals. This year there were 10, including The Taste, Bacon Fest, the Kickin’ Chicken Wing Fest and Art on the Commons.

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