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Pollstar: Back to the College Market 2018

Author Name: Pollstar Pro  

Published On Sep 21st, 2018

Barbara Hubbard has two sons, five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and far more “kids” who affectionately call her Mother Hubbard – from the students she works with at New Mexico State University and through her American Collegiate Talent Showcase (ACTS) scholarship program to the numerous figures she’s mentored in the music industry. 
Though Hubbard, 91, technically retired in 1996 after spending nearly three decades as the special events director at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, she has continued as the executive director of ACTS, which had provided opportunities for hundreds of students throughout the U.S. to experience hands-on internships in the performing arts. Her many accolades over the years include the inaugural Pollstar Honors Award for lifetime achievement in 2015. The nonagenarian, who repeatedly says how blessed she is, in her “Arkansas voice, with a twang I can’t get out,” has more to achieve, including getting a proposed amphitheater built at NMSU and launching the “Entertainment Business as it relates to specific Venue Management” degree program in 2019. 

She’s also excited about booking artists to celebrate Pan American Center’s 50th anniversary and continuing to find internships for her beloved students. 
Pollstar: You just consulted on a Foreigner show to raise money for your scholarships. How does that work?
Barbara Hubbard: It’s really simple. I consult and help organizations, such as Wild Boar Promotions find artists for their Hot Spring Rally. I charge them a fee of 5 percent of the value of the contract. If they don’t make any money I won’t charge them anything. That’s not counted in their loss.

I wouldn’t mention the price, but let’s just say it’s $100,000, they make a $5,000 donation to the ACTS Program. Garth Brooks, boy he did more than 5 percent.
Matriculating Grande Dame:Joe SkaggsMatriculating Grande Dame:Barbara Hubbard poses with Foreigner and Hot Springs Rally organizer Fred Anderson (in red) backstage at the band’s show at Bank Of The Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., as part of the Hot Springs Rally Sept. 8.
Can you talk a bit about how you got involved in the concert business?  
I started teaching at New Mexico State University in 1964 while I was working on my masters, which I got in ’70 in education. Peirce, my husband, was the president of the Booster Club at New Mexico State from 1966 to 1969 and during that time Lou Henson – who is a Hall Of Fame basketball coach – decided that I would make a good business [manager] for opening up the Pan American Center. 

I asked Peirce, “Well, do you want me to do this?” He said, “Well, it’s up to you!” I loved sports and with my phys ed background I said, “OK, that’s great, I’ll give it a try.”
Lou hired me and we opened up officially in ’68. My students had to hold two jobs because the building was dark so many nights since we just had sporting events in there. So I started reading the music business publications and trying to figure out what can I do to help the kids increase their paychecks. I started trying to rent the building and the late Brian Murphy [the co-founder of Avalon Attractions and later West Coast president of AEG Presents] brought me Neil Diamond and Olivia Newton John. The very first show that I did was the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.
How did that first show go?
Listen, I filled the building! (laughs) People were starving for something to do, Sarah! 
I opened the doors and I just had a great run until they built Don Haskins [Center] down in El Paso and and Jorge [Vazquez] is now getting most of the shows because most talent and tour managers don’t want to come down our tunnel that we’ve got in Pan American Center.