Running a business and being a concert promoter are two different jobs. But in both cases, it pays to listen to your customers.
And it was the fans who commented on Facebook that helped shaped the 2012 River Rock at the Amp concert series.
Sunrise Entertainment founders Ken Haidaris and Marty Cohen said they took seriously the feedback they received. That's why Eagles' tribute band 7 Bridges is opening the outdoor concert series and making a return appearance in August.
''Last year the bands that people said 'you gotta bring them back' more than any others were 7 Bridges and Chris Higbee,'' Cohen said. ''So we did.''
Higbee is opening for 7 Bridges on Saturday and he will return as a headliner in July with Boardman country singer Sarah Turner opening for him.
''He's one of the most animated artists we've ever had there,'' Cohen said.
But while the schedule features many familiar names from past years - Zoso (Led Zeppelin), Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett), Almost Queen (Queen), Vicious Cycle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and, returning after a one-year absence, Draw the Line (Aerosmith) - the schedule also hints at what Haidaris sees as the future of the River Rock series.
''I'd like to bring more expensive shows in, do two or three bigger shows a year to change it up,'' Haidaris said.
Cohen added, ''We're upping the ante with MSR (Michael Stanley and the Resonators).''
Stanley sold out Packard Music Hall in 2010 and has a long history as a concert draw in northeast Ohio. His show, which is being co-promoted by Sunrise Entertainment and Packed House Productions, is the first time they've had any reserved seating for a River Rock event. Only about 30 of the 420 reserved VIP and Party Zone tickets remain, Haidaris said, and advance sales have been good for the general admission tickets as well.
''If we get the weather, downtown Warren will be buzzing that night,'' Haidaris said. ''I think that's awesome.''
The promoters attempted to bring one other national act to the venue this summer, and Haidaris said those kinds of shows will create a buzz and bring more people to downtown Warren, which is why the two local businessmen (Cohen is the owner of Mickey's Army-Navy Store, Haidaris is co-owner of the Sunrise Inn) formed Sunrise Entertainment and took over the summer concert series after the death of original promoter Walt English.
''It's such a great facility,'' Haidaris said. ''It's too nice not to bring people to northeast Ohio.''
Haidaris and Cohen aren't worried about increased competition from the Country at the Amp series that will feature tribute acts on Fridays beginning June 8.
Both promoters are sharing costs on things like fencing and portable toilets, which will help lower expenses in some areas, although Haidaris admitted that he's sure there will be some cannibalization because many concertgoers won't want to spend both weekend nights at the amphitheater and will have to pick and choose.
But for two men who've always said their goal was to bring more people downtown, two nights of tribute shows and Fine Arts Council events on Thursdays will create more entertainment options and opportunities for downtown businesses.
Cohen said he believes a thriving arts and entertainment scene is important for the city to grow. It was a topic earlier this week at a Trumbull 100 meeting.
''Those young professional guys who have technical backgrounds, they can go anywhere, live anywhere,'' Cohen said. ''There has to be quality of life (to bring them to Warren). There's more happening here than there was a decade ago, and we need more.''