Why rename everything?

Is describing what something is not enough?

I have never understood why decision makers in classical music particularly, but the performing arts in general, give in to the trend of renaming everything according to whoever has the most money.

If someone makes a big donation for a new facility, great! ADD their name to it, do not replace the original name!

The Tampa Ice Palace where the Lightening Ice Hockey team are based and many concerts are held became the St Petersburg Times Forum which became the Tampa Bay Times Forum when the sponsor changed its own name, and is now the Amalie Arena now that a new sponsor has been seduced – that well known oil company neither sports nor the performing arts can live without. At least we know it is an arena. (When I hear “Forum” I think of a Roman government building.)

Worse are the PACs (Performing Arts Centers). Everyone knows what a PAC is, and where it is. For example, if I want to produce a concert in New Jersey, I could look at the NJ PAC in New Jersey. Or if I wanted to take an orchestra to NYC, I could book the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in… Tribeca, New York.

But there is no Tampa PAC (anymore). No St. Petersburg (USA) PAC. Not even a Clearwater PAC. No, if I am from out of Florida and want to see what’s going on in the Tampa Bay region, I’d easily find things like the Tarpon Springs PAC (300 seats), the Largo PAC (460 seats), or the 800 seat Palladium (not a PAC, but the term is sufficiently in use throughout history to be recognized as a performance venue). Places such as the Straz Center (a science lab, or a five-theater complex with 4,000 seats?), the Mahaffey (a snooty chef restaurant, or a 2,000 seat theater?), or even Ruth Eckerd Hall (a Biltmore-like mansion with beautiful gardens, or a modern 1,800 seat concert venue?) would be totally passed over. Their names do not describe what they do.

Throughout history concert halls have borne the name of their patrons, but they are still concert halls. Orchestras, string quartets, concert and community bands, all tell us what they do, whatever sponsor or patron name precedes them.

Actually, there are some traditional performing groups playing at various unrecognizable venues that are beginning to follow a similar trend. I do wish they would stop it. Tell us what you are or do, please.

Thanks to Mark Stivers for this little laugh;

Mozart Tribute Band

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