Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 20, 2017

Kershaw wins convention center’s online vote

By ANDY HALLMAN | Apr 11, 2014

Country singer Sammy Kershaw has been chosen by popular demand to appear in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s 2014-2015 artist series.

Kershaw was selected for the series because he won an online voting poll against fellow country singer Mark Chestnut. Those who receive the convention center’s weekly email blast were invited to vote in the poll, which began Monday and ended Thursday morning. Kershaw won 64 percent of the 121 votes cast.

The online poll marked the first time in the convention center’s history that the public was asked to select an artist. Rustin Lippincott, executive director of the convention center, said he was pleased with the response to the poll and plans to do another one in the future.

“We want our programming to reflect the wants and desires of our market,” he said. “If we can bring something people had a stake in selecting, it creates that feeling that we’re all in this together.”

Lippincott said the community is so heavily involved in the convention center it is only fitting to bring it into the exciting process of selecting artists.

Kershaw and Chestnut were selected to compete in the poll because they would appeal to the same demographic without throwing off the center’s quest for a diverse musical selection.

“The two performers are from the same era and genre,” Lippincott said. “Both began their careers in late 1990s and are still relevant today.”

Mandy Mellum, events and marketing manager at the center, said her goal is to offer a wide variety of music at the Sondheim. For instance, the center likes to have at least one dance show, country artist and musical each year. By having two country artists compete for a single spot in the series, it ensured there would be dates remaining to feature other genres of music.

“It was like having two pitchers on a team and deciding which one was going to start,” she said.

Mellum said country artists were chosen because the public has responded especially well to that style of music. She decided to have the voting online in order to engage the young generation of fans who visit the convention center.

Lippincott said Mellum has her pulse on what’s trending in digital marketing. The two agreed that an online poll would resonate with the public. Those who subscribe to the weekly email blast were given the same information about the performers that the convention center staff receives when it selects artists.

The convention center staff will release the date of Kershaw’s performance when it announces the entire 2014-2015 artist series lineup in June. Mellum said there’s a good chance Chestnut could be included in an upcoming season.

“There’s always a possibility of seeing him in the future,” she said. “I talked to quite a few people who took the survey. Chances are, if you’re a fan of Chestnut, you’re also a fan of Kershaw. Both had top hits in the 1990s.”


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