Zumwalt Park renovation spades way into downtown Tulare

Rachel Clement with Terry Sayre at the Zumwalk Park Renovation groundbreaking in Tulare.(Rigo Moran)

City officials finally break ground on a major facelift for Zumwalt Park; producers Spade Entertainment gear up to book talent and events

TULARE–  Downtown Tulare is beginning to look a little different as a fence goes up around Zumwalt Park and renovations begin on one of the most daring projects the city has moved on in many years.

On Nov. 16 city officials and residents gathered to break ground on Zumwalt Park renovations which are set to change the way the downtown functions. The new park will include an amphitheater with a 6,000 seat capacity, a playground and splash pad and is projected to be complete by the end of next year.

Over the past four months, operating group Spade Entertainment has begun talks and negotiations with big names, preparing to book at least 12 concerts for the first year the venue is open.

“When I say it’s a world class venue, it is a world class venue, I mean, we can fit 6,000 people there,” Todd Speelman, owner and lead producer of Spade Entertainment said. “The artists are excited…management’s excited.”

This venue is expected to bring in a significant level of revenue for the city of Tulare with a variety of different names playing. Speelman said he thinks there is a common misconception surrounding construction of the amphitheater as this is not going to be small-scale with only cover bands and small events. Though not every show will fill the theater, Speelman said because it is a “world class venue” and he is confident they will be able to book the space with ease. In fact, Spade Entertainment is hopeful to hear back from a few artists by the end of the year to have the first few concerts booked.

“This is a big deal,” Speelman said. “Somebody that would normally play in Bakersfield, or Fresno, we can now have them play in Tulare.”

Park design of the Zumwalk Park renovation in Tulare.

Speelman and his wife have experience in the industry, so they worked with the city on the plans to ensure the amphitheater had everything it needed. In the city’s contract with Spade Entertainment, they are set to book 12-15 shows each year. Speelman said that number should be met with ease, as they plan to hold a multitude of other events in addition to what is contracted.

“We’re knee deep and planning a Christmas event for 2024. So, it is beyond music, because we know not everyone goes to concerts,” Speelman said. “There’s a lot of families out there…that’s our goal, we want to be able to provide (a little bit of everything) for the community.”

Spade Entertainment is a small business that Speelman and his wife have created after pooling their knowledge and branching out on their own. Currently the duo also operates in Northern California and already has relationships with big artists. Previous artists they have booked include Halsey, Chris Lane, James Bay, Cake, Dave Koz, The Tubes, Bastille, Pablo Cruise, Tyler RIch, Canaan Smith and more.

Additionally, Spade Entertainment is incredibly community oriented. They are always interested in not only local business input, but community input as well. A large part of the job for them is marketing and Speelman said they are always interested in getting local business names out there and helping with growth.

“We are a little different than your normal person that puts on concerts (because) we handle all aspects of it,” Speelman said. “(And) that includes working with the businesses on sponsorships.”

Spade Entertainment will be in charge of booking talent, planning events and shows, organizing the talent’s accommodation as well as running concessions and ticket sales. Speelman said they hope to offer VIP season passes for those who are interested as well.

Due to the recent loss of their business partner up north, the company is in the process of combining both brands under Spade Entertainment. As a result of the change, their website is scheduled to be up and running in about two weeks, but they will be using their social media in the meantime to get information out. You can follow them on Instagram at the username “@spadeconcerts” and on Facebook under “Spade Entertainment.”

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