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Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

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Twin Cities
posts: 43
reviews: 3
Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

The Broadway Theater has yet to be sold after over 2 years on the market; and now Crystal Grand is up for sale. The Comedy/Hypno Club is gone. The Bartlett Show only does 2 shows each day instead of years of doing 3. Neither Chula Vista nor the Casino have much live entertainment when you consider the number of people on their properties.

When you consider a place like Branson where in the summer there are between 45 and 65 LIVE shows each day; Why doesn't LIVE entertainment --(except for WILCOX MAGIC and the BARTLETT WATER-SKI) make it in the Dells?

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
posts: 5,044
reviews: 103
1. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

I think Wisconsin Dells was built first around capitalizing on the beauty of the area and then the FUN factor of rides and waterparks. Branson was built on live shows. I think therein lies the difference. In fact when we think of going to the Dells the appeal lies in the waterparks first then in nature, animals, and history with another fun thing or two like horseback riding or the Ducks/boat tours (which feed off the beauty of the area)etc. The only show we've cared to see involved the outdoors and that's the Tommy Bartlett show. …wikipedia.org/wiki/…_Wisconsin

Edited: 9:29 am, July 13, 2013
posts: 1,331
reviews: 334
2. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

In addition to the above, I think too that Branson draws in more older people who are interested in shows, while the Dells draws in more families with young kids who may not want to sit through shows (or not want to pay the $$ it would cost for a family to see a show vs. a couple). At least where I live, I know many families who take their kids to the Dells, and many retired folks who like to visit Branson.

3rd Chaise to the...
posts: 1,488
reviews: 31
3. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

I also think it's the target demographic for the tourists that makes the difference. The Dells aims for young families with short attention spans.

Isn't the "legit" tourism season in Branson longer? (I have not been to Branson since I was about 14, so that's a long time ago.)

Back in the 80s, the Dells tried to do more Branson-type shows. The current Rick Wilcox theater was home to one of them. There was also "Fast Molly's", the Wisconsin Opry (still going, but hardly visible) and even the mis-step for live shows at Fort Dells -- if memory serves.

The Broadway Theater was a very nice venue that was doomed by opening for the first season very late and missing a lot of money. And frankly, the performances and food left a lot to be desired.

The Crystal Grand is a beautiful facility with great seating and sound that makes terrible booking choices -- IMHO. They are too pricey for locals and book acts that tourists can see twice a year in their home areas.

Ho-Chunk needs to buy Crystal Grand, so they have a venue for live acts. Seeing them at the casino is terrible. Bad seating, awful sightlines. 21 and over.

Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
posts: 8,959
reviews: 63
4. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

I agree with you about Ho Chunk. I saw Joan Jett there a couple of years ago. The concert was in what I would describe as a banquet hall, just a large flat room with a make shift stage. Contrast that with Potawatomi in Milwaukee that has a beautiful theater for concerts, not a bad seat in the house.

3rd Chaise to the...
posts: 1,488
reviews: 31
5. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?


I have wondered if Potawatomi had a better setup. There are often acts I'd like to see that are there. How easy is that to get to?

6. Re: Why are there so few LIVE shows in the Dells?

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