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New concert group works LR

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A new concert booking group is bringing industrial metal band Ministry to the Clear Channel Metroplex on July 19, and says it has more in the works.

Hitchhiker Entertainment is led by Erin Hurley and Jon Love.

Hitchhiker books shows regularly for Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom. Hurley worked at Juanita’s until last March, when he and Love created Hitchhiker and convinced Juanita’s to let the company handle the booking, ticket sales and expenses, while the club kept its bar money.

“It’s been a win-win for both of us. It’s definitely gone well considering my original position, where I was with Juanita’s — I was prepared to move on if I wasn’t doing this. I think Juanita’s would say the same thing,” Hurley said.

“By us booking the acts, they don’t risk anything. They haven’t lost a dime on entertainment. Whether five people are in here or not, they haven’t lost money, they’ve made money.”

At Clear Channel’s venue, Hitchhiker gets the ticket

revenue while renting the room and providing security. Clear Channel gets the concessions, but has the cleanup responsibilities.

While looking for bigger shows that would draw crowds in the 1,000-plus range, or more than twice the size of Juanita’s, in Clear Channel’s large room, Hurley says he’s also interested in putting shows elsewhere — including outdoors.

“We’re working on an outdoor show for the summer now, we’re just not sure where to put it,” he said. The Riverfest Amphitheatre would be a possibility, he said, but setting up a stage in North Little Rock’s riverfront park may be much less expensive than the $5,000 rental the amphitheater charges.

“By the end of the day, we want to be putting shows in all the time, as many as the market can bear,” Hurley says.

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