The Hippo


Aug 22, 2019








Ringo Starr. Courtesy photo.

Bank of NH Pavilion at Meadowbrook 2016 Season

For times and tickets go to
Dierks Bentley/Randy Houser: Friday, June 3
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band: Friday, June 10
Lynyrd Skynyrd/Peter Frampton: Saturday, June 11
Brantley Gilbert: Friday, June 17
Twenty Øne Piløts: Saturday, June 18
Jason Isbell/Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls: Sunday, June 19
Florida Georgia Line: Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25
Weezer / Panic! At The Disco: Tuesday, June 28
Keith Urban: Saturday, July 2, and Sunday, July 3
Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons: Wednesday, July 6
Pat Benatar & Neil Geraldo/Melissa Etheridge: Sunday, July 10
Dave Matthews Band: Tuesday, July 12, and Wednesday, July 13 (both sold out)
Tedeschi Trucks Band/Los Lobos/North Mississippi Allstars: Saturday, July 16
Bob Dylan/Mavis Staples: Sunday, July 17
Journey/Dave Mason: Monday, July 18
Chris Stapleton: Friday, July 22
James Taylor & His All-Star Band: Monday, Aug. 1
Disturbed/Breaking Benjamin/Alter Bridge: Thursday, Aug. 4
Shinedown/Halestorm: Friday, Aug. 12
Goo Goo Dolls/Collective Soul: Sunday, Aug. 14
Bob Marley Camp-a-palooza IV: Saturday, Aug. 20
Train: Sunday, Aug. 21
Needtobreathe/Mat Kearney: Tuesday, Aug. 23
Brian Wilson: Sunday, Aug. 28
Rod Stewart: Thursday, Sept. 1
Weird Al Yankovic: Friday, Sept. 2
Darius Rucker: Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4
Don Henley: Friday, Sept. 16
Dropkick Murphys Irish Festival: Saturday, Sept. 17

Big anniversary
20 years in, Meadowbrook aims higher

By Michael Witthaus

 A Beatle, an Eagle and James Taylor are three of the reasons Bank of NH Pavilion at Meadowbrook CEO RJ Harding expects that 2016 “will undoubtedly be our best season yet, by far.” 

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Gilford amphitheater started by Harding’s father in 1996. From humble beginnings in a field filled with folding chairs and an open air stage, Meadowbrook grew into a premiere venue — and an ever improving one.  A new food service company (a veteran of big events like Coachella and Stage Coach), festival-style camping facilities and a cool parking lot vibe provided by Meadowbrook “Experience Team” members are among the additions attendees can expect. Other enhancements will be evident to ears, not eyes. 
“The improvement I am most excited about is a very elaborate, new delay audio system,” Harding said. “The front will no longer get blown out so that the back seats can get a good mix. Every seat will sound better than before, including the lawn.”
Harding took time out from hectic preparations to talk about the upcoming season.
What’s exciting about the coming season?
We have more shows than ever before. We will smash our attendance record. We have made such vast improvements to the programming that the fans have come to expect and love from attending a show here. We have a great assortment and variety of shows, many coming for the first time. As far as particular shows, I’m excited about a bunch of them as a fan and a promoter, but the biggest coup for us in this particular season is probably the double with Dave Matthews Band. That is going to be epic for us, mostly because it is not a genre where we’ve really had anything quite that big. 
What’s changed in the industry since Meadowbrook launched 20 years ago?
Almost everything. … The biggest change impacting our world is the business model of touring musicians. Most of them make the majority of their income from touring. It used to be just a marketing arm to sell records. Hardly anyone sells records anymore, so that has all been turned upside down. That has affected ticket prices but also the experience is better than it has ever been. The artists now realize that this is their bread and butter. If they want the fans to keep coming back year after year, they better be giving them their money’s worth.
 Looking back 20 years, what’s your favorite moment?
There are so many memories. I guess it would still have to be the moment I confirmed James Taylor for the first time in 2014. That was an artist my father and I had always believed to be the absolute perfect fit for us. We had pursued him for 15 years leading up to that moment. My father passed away in 2008. I could feel him smiling on that day.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen in running the venue?
I guess the venue itself. Now that we have a lot of perspective in the business, this venue does not make sense. You should not be able to do what we’re doing in Gilford, N.H. 
What has changed for the worse?
I guess the one thing that has changed about our industry that concerns me the most is after-market tickets, scalpers, etc. This reselling business seems to keep growing. Not only do the fans pay more for the same tickets that way but many of them are buying a product that we can’t service. Everything for us is about communicating with our customers and great customer service. We cannot do either if someone buys from a reseller.  This is the main reason we created a reseller platform. We now give the resellers a place to go where we can still provide all our great services to the buyer.
What do you wish your father had lived to witness? 
There are hardly any shows that I don’t wish he were here to see. Not only because I think he would be proud of what we’ve become but just because we miss him. He was something special and different and an incredible business thinker. I still miss his advice all the time.
What are you looking forward to in the next decade? 
I’m expecting my first grandchild this year, so that is exciting. As far as the venue goes, our passion is to continue to try to give the best concert experience possible to the fans. This bar is continuously being moved up by the great festivals out there. We’re trying to keep pace with them.

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu