PHILADELPHIA, MS (WLBT) - A new concert hall is bringing big names in entertainment to Mississippi. The Pearl River Resort unveiled The Arena to the media Friday. It is 85,000 square feet and can seat up to 9,000.
Bright lights poured from the stage that Huey Lewis and The News was performing on Friday night. It was the musician's first time visiting the Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia.
"I'm a soul music fan and down here it comes from the south. The music I love comes from the south. We have a great affinity for the people down here, but this place is fantastic," said Huey Lewis.
Fans of his music were up close and personal to the artist. "The farthest seat anywhere in the arena is 125 feet which is extremely close, so there's not a bad seat in the house," said The Arena booking agent Greg Ericson.
The Arena is centered with an adjustable stage flanked by huge HD projector screens and a state of the art sound system. Two years ago the idea was born, but it only took seven weeks to transform what once was a floor for gambling into an event venue.
"We knew we wanted to re purpose this floor space. We came to an agreement in early October and pulled the trigger right after Halloween and just went to it," said Ericson.
It was a good sign of growth for the Golden Moon Hotel and Casino which was struggling just a couple years ago. In January 2009, 570 employees were laid off and the Golden Moon began operating only on weekends. The arena is expected to draw huge crowds.
"This is a great addition to the resort. We got the golf course, the water park and now The Arena," said Pearl River Resort Director of Communications Warren Strain.
A number of talented musicians and comedians are scheduled to perform including Jeff Foxworthy, Diana Ross, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sugarland and more. For ticket information call 1 866-447-3275 or visit Ticketmaster.com.
©2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.