Confirmation didn't come wrapped in paper and a bow, but Shellabration President Jim Reed considers news that Styx will headline the organization's June 22, 2013, concert an early Christmas present.
Reed called the news "an 11-year dream come true," launched after he and John Hale, co-founders of Shellabration, saw the band perform in Spencer.
"It was Sunday night, Sept. 9, 2001, John and I went up to see them at the Clay County Fair, and neither of us had ever seen Styx," Reed said. "We went and were absolutely blown away by the live show, and I've been to a lot of concerts ... but it was absolutely top shelf. We were driving back, and we were like a couple of school kids talking.
"This was on the heels of Grand Funk Railroad; we had done that in July. So after the success of that ... we became somewhat big dreamers. We were thinking, we have to bring Styx.
"Two days later, on Sept. 11, the world changed. In my mind, I kept going back to the last good thing I could remember, and that happened to be that Sunday night concert. The power of that show, coupled with the magnitude of the moment - given the state the world was in - heightened it even more," he said.
Shellabration made multiple offers over the years before signing Styx for the 2013 show, he said.
If you go:
What: Shellabration 2013
When: June 22, 2013
Where: Oleson Park Bandshell
Cost: Tickets, which will go on sale April 6, are $30 in advance. On June 4, the ticket price increases to $35. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketweb.com or by phone at (866) 468-3401. Tickets will also be available in Fort Dodge at locations that will be announced later. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult, and all tickets are general admission with festival-style seating.
"There's one word that I can use to describe the Styx show, and I've used it many times - theatrical. I have no doubt, because they're artists, that a lot of what they do is fairly well planned and choreographed, but you really wouldn't know it. It feels spontaneous,' he said.
Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, for example, has a circular pedestal with his keyboard mounted on it so the instrument can swivel 360 degrees.
Consequently, Reed said, "it's not uncommon for him to be playing with his back to you. The next minute he's facing you and before you know it, he's stepping off the pedestal and spinning that with the keyboard spinning around. It's just little simple production elements, all woven tightly together in sequence, that really make this the show that it is."
With the release of its concept album Paradise Theater in 1981, Styx became the first band to release four consecutive triple-platinum albums. Notable Styx songs include "Too Much Time on My Hands," "Lorelei," "Come Sail Away," "Renegade," "Blue Collar Man" and "Fooling Yourself."
This is the earliest, Reed said, that a band has confirmed its Shellabration appearance.
"To have an artist confirm in December with seven months to go, seven months to plan, seven months to choreograph, seven months to market, seven months to sell tickets is an uncommon feeling, and it's pretty powerful," he said.
Reed said he wouldn't be surprised if the Styx concert draws 5,000 people.
Tickets, which will go on sale April 6, are $30 in advance. On June 4, the ticket price increases to $35. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketweb.com or by phone at (866) 468-3401. Tickets will also be available in Fort Dodge at locations that will be announced later. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult, and all tickets are general admission with festival-style seating.
Shellabration Inc. is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is "to make a positive impact on the quality of life and the economic development of the Greater Fort Dodge area through the delivery of exciting, family-friendly entertainment and performing arts options."
In addition to its summer concert, Shellabration also stages an annual Oktoberfest celebration.