Due to the destruction of MetraPark’s Rimrock Auto Arena by tornado, two of the largest shows the booked for the end of the year in Billings have been canceled: Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.
“We regret to tell you that we are going to have to cancel both Brad Paisley, slated for September 26, and Carrie Underwood, slated for December 10,” said Sandra Hawke, MetraPark director of marketing and sales, in a media briefing on June 25. “There is just no way those stages can configure elsewhere.”
Considered an economic engine of the area, the MetraPark arena has a seating capacity of 10,950, making it is the largest entertainment complex in the state. Nearby comparable venues include Bozeman’s Brick Breeden Fieldhouse and Casper’s Event Center.
MetraPark’s closet option is the grandstand area, which seats 6,000, but is unusable for concerts in inclement weather.
Both Paisley and Underwood shows are scheduled in Bozeman at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Paisley performs on Sept. 30 and Underwood on Dec. 12. Tickets sold before the tornado for Underwood totaled around 5,000 and 2,000 for Paisley, which went on sale the day before the disaster.
The promoter for the Brad Paisley concert is offering a block of seats to MetraPark ticket buyers. Ticket holders are asked to call 800-808-5940 and use the password METRA.
Ticket refunding will begin the first week of July, Hawke said. “As you can imagine, our box office and every other department here are disrupted.”
Sue DeVries, MetraPark Assistant General Manager, said the integrity of the box office system is preserved. “All of our data is there. We will be able to start refunding the first of July as planned,” DeVries said.
DeVries stressed the importance of getting the systems running in order to begin selling gate admission and concerts tickets for the fair. A box office will be set up in temporary trailers to the west of the Expo Center. “We’ll be ready to go as quickly as possible,” she said.
As for other upcoming performances, Hawke did not have definitive plans for their relocation. She said MetraPark was on the verge of announcing a Rodney Carrington comedy show in September and is working to try to find another location. The options for some events include scheduling multiple performances, and they are looking at other venues, including the Alberta Bair Theater and the Shrine Auditorium.
“There is a good possibility that we can accommodate some of the shows that would normally be in the arena in our Expo Center as our booking schedule permits,” Hawke said.” The center is not designed to be a concert arena, but has seating for about 3,000.
“We’re thinking very creatively about what to do with all of our clients to keep the ball rolling and keep the facility operating,” she said.
UPDATE: Celtic Woman slated for August 22 at MetraPark’s arena, has been relocated to the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman on the same date.
For those who hold tickets for a Billings performance, special seating has been reserved and a password to secure tickets, available by calling (406) 256- 2400, has been created. Billings ticket holders may order online with the password at ticketswest.com/promos/mt or by phone: 1-800-808-5940
Refunds for the Billings show will be issued when MetraPark box office is up and running.