Welcoming people from all over with its world-class venue, the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences is bringing the magic as it serves as an entertainment beacon for the South Plains with notable tours and performances.
Boasting a state-of-the-art venue with upscale casual restaurant Rave On, and the Helen DeVitt Jones theater that holds about 2,300 seats, Director of Sales and Marketing Holly Fields said there is plenty of entertainment for everyone, and their line-up does not disappoint.
“There’s a big range of things to do,” Fields said, “and it impacts the community at different levels from children all the way up to art lovers. There’s something for everybody here.”
According to the Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association’s website, plans for the venue were first introduced in 2013. With plans for 120,000 square feet at an $85 million budget, it didn’t take long for LEPPA to see the need for a larger facility. Through partnerships with Lubbock ISD, Ballet Lubbock, United, and additional funding from several organizations such as the Helen Jones Foundation and the CH Foundation, plans for the Hall expanded to 220,000 square feet with a budget of more than $150 million.
In 2021, the venue sits proudly at 1300 Mac Davis Lane, and it also hold several entertainment spaces including outdoor performance areas, a 6,000 square-foot multipurpose rooms, and Ballet Lubbock.
With a 22,000 square-foot dance center, Ballet Lubbock has six dance studios and sits on the northeast side of the building.
Nick Dragga, executive director for Ballet Lubbock, said the greater space will allow for their classic Nutcracker show to fit a larger crowd.
Having cancelled the live production in 2020 due to COVID-19, The Nutcracker, already known for its deep holiday tradition, is set to be a memorable event with new sets and backdrops.
“It’s going to make this year even more magical,” Dragga said. “I think that with gathering and the holiday spirit, well, Buddy Holly Hall will bring us certainly the magic of the space.”
Having a history of sold-out crowds, he said the new venue will add about 800 extra seats for the public.
In addition to The Nutcracker, that week there will be a series of performances by area schools. Dragga said the venue will be a “game changer” as it will help accommodate more students and spectators.
For LEPAA Chair Tim Collins, the venue was long overdue and the partnerships formed along the way were a match made in heaven.
Truly a community effort, Collins and Fields said the project was funded privately – by the people, for the people. For Collins, the combination of people and ideas highlight the spirit, growth, and work ethic of West Texas.
With that idea of helping your neighbor, Collins said the venue allows their collaborators to come together to meet a purpose while fulfilling their own individual needs.
Dragga echoed those sentiments by speaking of the partnerships and the decisions of those in the community.
“This isn’t competition,” he said. “This is greater than the sum of your parts. So, I feel like in many ways this is sort of like inevitable, but also a very conscious decision by the city saying, ‘We want this, we deserve this, and we can do it.’”
Already, Buddy Holly Hall has played host – or will this fall – to such internationally well-known acts as Foreigner, Styx, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, George Lopez, Bill Maher and more.
Aiming to please, Collins said the Lubbock community can expect Broadway shows; performances by Lubbock ISD students, the Texas Tech School of Music and Ballet Lubbock; and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.
LSO President and CEO Galen Wixson said they focused on building the audience as they awaited the opening of the Hall, seeing a 30% increase in ticket sales prior to COVID-19.
Keeping up with their “snazzy” new neighbor across the street, Wixson said they wanted to match the aesthetic of the Hall by revamping their office.
Ready to head into the fall and winter seasons, Wixson said their lineup is sure to please with Fall Sound! Chamber concert series, a performance by award-winning singer and actor Kristin Chenoweth, the celebration of their 75th season with Beethoven’s 9th, and more.
Wixson said he enjoys knowing he is bringing a unique musical experience to the community, and to be able to do so in the Hall is even better.
What can people expect when entering the venue or taking in a performance?
According to Dragga, Collins, Fields and Wixson, a sense of awe.
“I love watching musicians and artists going in for the first time,” Wixson said with a smile, “and they look up, but they just go, ‘wow,” you know? They just kind of– they have to take it in for a minute.”
The venue, Wixson said, allows the music to come back clearer than before, which may lead to an emotional experience as people begin to connect with the sounds presented to them.
And just like Dragga mentioned about Ballet Lubbock’s performances, Wixson spoke of the magic in the music.
“We want you to have a little teardrop going on because you are overwhelmed by the experience,” he said. “We love that.”
As audiences connect with performances, the magic and majesty that the Hall brings is what will make Lubbock a unique travel destination.
Fields said the story of how the Hall was built is inspiring, and in addition to attending a performance, she encourages the public to take a tour and learn how it was built.
Coming from El Paso, Fields said she has been inspired by the venue that began based on the desire for a premier art and entertainment facility.
From free shows to big ticket concerts, she encourages people to stop in or take in a show.
“The community is obviously ready for this venue and excited about the art and tours that are coming,” she said. “Tours are definitely coming.”