With a name change in effect and a record of sold-out performances since the beginning of this year, the Mid-Hudson Civic Center is about to embrace a new act in its 40-plus years of entertaining the Hudson Valley.
In December, the building was renamed the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center, after the local philanthropist and CEO of Gas Land Petroleum in Kingston. Civic Center President Danielle Anderson recently shared her excitement over the new developments for the nonprofit organization. “It’s going to be fantastic,” she said. “It is an investment in the building and the community it serves.” According to Anderson, the organization provides $400,000 annually in sales tax revenue for Dutchess County. “What other nonprofit does that?” she exclaimed.
Anderson described how the partnership with the Nesheiwat family came about.
“They were philanthropists in the community who were very involved,” she said. “He saw a need and said yes to investing in our organization. He saw a lot in a nonprofit that gives entertainment and shelter in times of natural disaster.”
This year, there is no shortage of entertainment. A record-breaking fifty shows have already sold out since the start of this year. Last year’s record of thirty-seven throughout the year has already been beat. “Our calendar has been quite extensive,” said Anderson. “We work hard to attract a wide range of performers.” They include rap sensation Lil Baby, who performed to a sold-out audience on April 14; comedians Rhett & Link, who will take the stage on May 4; rock group A Day to Remember, set to rock out on June 23.
The Civic Center also hosts many expos, school graduations, and an annual fashion show in addition to housing a popular ice skating rink for public use. It recently held the first annual Hudson Valley Tattoo Fest, which attracted over 30,000 attendees. The center has also hosted job fairs and events with the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce, as it has done for many years. Dutchess Community College and several local school districts, including Wappingers Central School District, continue to host their college and high school graduations here. Marist College fashion majors have been putting on the Silver Needle Fashion Show for 33 years, which is an annual showcase for graduating students to show off their most runway-ready looks before pursuing careers in the fashion industry.
Despite all the success, Anderson acknowledges the growing difficulty in snagging big acts to perform at the center as concert promoters are offering increasingly staggering prices to entertainment venues. “You could get someone like Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel twenty years ago,” she said. “Prices are astronomical, but some promoters see the benefit of having someone perform at a cheap place like ours versus Madison Square Garden.”
Indeed, the center has hosted Springsteen and Willie Nelson, among others, for concerts in the past. There is also a political history for the Civic Center, as then-candidate Donald Trump hosted a presidential rally there in 2016. Whether the performers are big names or smaller acts, the Majed J. Nesheiwat Civic Center has done and will continue to do big business for the Hudson Valley. Annual attendance has remained consistent at 200,000.