PIKEVILLE — Low sales for a concert at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville have driven the general manager of the facility to take out radio commercials proclaiming the facility is pro-coal.
The move comes after only about 1,500 tickets had been sold as of Wednesday for Saturday's country music concert featuring performers Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy.
Expo Center general manager Steve St. John told the Appalachian News-Express that the facility has gotten complaints about Big & Rich member "Big Kenny" Alphin, who is outspoken in his stance against mountaintop removal mining.
St. John says he fears that it has affected ticket sales so he is appearing in radio spots to let people know that the expo center is pro coal and that a discounted ticket package is available.
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St. John said the commercials are meant to address any concerns over Alphin's views.
"I'm just acknowledging the fact that people are recognizing that he's anti-coal," St. John said. "My counterpunch to that is, 'OK, if you're a coal miner and you have an issue spending your money on (the concert), I'm going to make it more attractive for you to buy a ticket for less money so you'll support us.'"