MARION -- A new Southern Illinois-based promotion company is hoping to reap big benefits for the local entertainment scene and they've started off with a bang.
Cody Dunbar and Rob Baril, owners of the M5E Agency, announced Friday that Blue Oyster Cult will be coming to the Marion Cultural and Civic Center on Oct. 14. Dunbar signed a contract with the MCCC on Friday for that event.
Opening for Blue Oyster Cult will be Derek St. Holmes.
"I like to say he's a co-headliner," said Dunbar. "He played with Ted Nugent during the early days and co-wrote some of the songs."
St. Holmes played rhythm guitar and provided vocals for Nugent from 1975 through 1978 on such hits as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold."
Blue Oyster Cult, formed in the 1960s, is known for its 1976 hit "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." Buck Dharma, an original member of the band, still performs.
Tickets for the show will go on sale June 25 at 10 a.m. on the Marion CCC website at www.marionccc.com. Prices range from $38 to $78.
Dunbar said he and Baril hope to bring in several concerts over the next couple of years, including at least two more classic rock shows before the end of the year.
"We're shooting for some genres not being hit," he said, including at least one hip-hop show.
Dunbar said that M5E hopes to fill a void by bringing big-name artists to the region.
"There are a lot of people in Southern Illinois passionate about music. We want to bring the acts here instead of people having to travel outside of the area," he said.
Dunbar said that while he and Baril are also pursuing other venues including Rent One Park, where Dunbar played for the Miners, and Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, he is partial to the MCCC, especially for classic rock, because of the building's acoustics.
"It was designed by an acoustical engineer," he said. "It was built for good sound."
Dunbar said he also likes working with the employees and the MCCC provides an "intimate" setting with over 1,000 seats.
"We're not limited to Marion," he said, "it just kind of seems to be the center of Southern Illinois."