Two concerts this spring and summer will be celebrating good times in Harford County at the new APG Federal Credit Union Arena.
Kool & the Gang and KC and the Sunshine Band, which both rose to fame in the 1970s and have continued to tour, will soon usher in the arena's debut as a music venue.
Kool & the Gang will bring its R&B sound to the venue, at Harford Community College, on May 10, to be followed by KC and the Sunshine Band on June 15.
"We have identified various artists and we determined that those two would be good ones to have, and we wanted to spread them out, and that is why there is one in May and one in June," Greg Pizzuto, the arena's general manager, explained.
"Who doesn't go to a wedding or some kind of event where you always hear, 'Celebration' and 'Boogie Shoes,'" he said, in reference to two hits from both bands.
The arena's inaugural concert could attract a different audience. Andy Grammer, a pop artist whose song "Keep Your Head Up" made the Billboard charts, will be performing April 4.
The opening act will be the band Augustana, which attracted a following several years ago with the song "Boston."
Pizzuto said tickets are still available, unlike the recent Harlem Globetrotters performance, which sold out in about 20 minutes.
Nevertheless, he said, "tickets are still selling well."
The Andy Grammer/Augustana tickets are selling from $45 to $95, while both Kool & the Gang and KC range from $50 to $75.
All proceeds from the KC show will benefit the county's Chamber of Commerce, while a portion of proceeds from the Kool & the Gang show will go toward the college's foundation.
Pizzuto said the main demographic groups identified in the Chesapeake region, which includes Harford, are ages 50 and older and ages 18 to 30.
He said the three shows are targeted at those two demographics.
Despite some reservation about hosting performers and meeting their needs, Pizzuto said both Kool & the Gang and KC have been easy to work with.
"When you book an artist, you have to have hospitality rooms," he explained. "Quite frankly, both of the bands have been very easy to work with as far as their requirements."
Pizzuto said the board of trustees was expected to decide Tuesday night if beer will be served, at the Kool & the Gang show only.
The concerts could pull people from lower Pennsylvania, the entire "Maryland and Virginia area" and as far as New Jersey, he said, according to their research.
Pizzuto said the arena recently did a test concert with a local band just to make sure the venue would hold up for a live show.
"It sounds fantastic. We are very excited to see what happens when we bring some of these national and international recording acts to play here," he said. "When people come in for a basketball game, there is a huge wow factor, and we think there will be a wow factor when people see it has been transformed into a concert venue."
A few other big acts could be in store for the arena. Pizzuto would not release too much information, but said he hoped to get a "cirque-type show," in reference to Cirque du Soleil, although he said it would definitely not be the actual Cirque.
The popular children's show "Dinosaur Train" is also expected to make a stop at the arena next February, and the arena is also in conversation with "a major, well-known speaker" that Pizzuto said would be announced soon.
That means the upcoming concerts could be a sign of things to come for the newest stadium venue in Harford County.
"It's just kind of the tip of the iceberg," Pizzuto said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun