If you are looking for a unique event venue in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, consider Billy Bob’s Texas! Not only are they the largest honky tonk in the world, but they also rent out their space for events. Join me as I discuss Billy Bob’s Texas’ unique history and unique venue solutions with Lauren Davis.
Connect with Lauren and learn more about Billy Bob’s Texas on their YourEventMarketplace listing.
Lisa Schulteis (00:05):
Hi there everybody. This is Lisa Schulteis with YourEventMarketplace and I am so excited today. I am with Lauren Davis. Yes. Correct. And she is the marketing manager at Billy Bob’s Texas. So we are here at Billy Bob’s thus the lighting in the space… and Billy Bob’s is the largest honky tonk in the world.
Lauren Davis (00:25):
It is, it is the largest honky tonk in the world.
Lisa Schulteis (00:27):
Yes. I have been coming here for years. I absolutely love it. And I’m so excited to be sitting here with Lauren today so that we can talk a little bit about Billy Bob’s because there’s a lot of things people don’t know about Billy Bob’s when it comes to virtual hybrid and live events. Yes. So just to start off, tell me a little bit about Billy Bob’s Texas.
Lauren Davis (00:49):
Yeah. So Billy Bob’s, I guess we’ll start from the beginning. The stockyards was built in the early 1900’s, as a functioning stockyard, cattle drives, housing, all the cattle rodeos, horse shows, you name it. We had it, in the 1930s. Billy Bob’s building itself was built as a cattle barn. So, hence why, if you ever come visit, there’s a slant down, you come to our stage and you’re looking at our stage. You kind of are feeling like you’re falling down a little bit. It’s very slight, but if you now hear about it, you might notice it. So it’s actually so the runoff would go down into the street of the stockyards, which is kind of cool. So it’s a perfect setup to be a venue. But then in the forties… in the 1940’s during World War II, Billy Bob’s was actually used as a plane hanger.
Lauren Davis (01:39):
So they, held a lot of war planes in here. That’s amazing. Yeah. And then, soon after that it became a department store. I cannot remember off the top of my head, but it was a giant department store and was actually so big that employees used to actually wear roller skates to get from the back to the front with products. So really interesting. And then 1980s, when the urban cowboy craze was happening, a man named Billy Bob Barnett wanted to build a nightclub. And so he went ahead in 1981, we opened up Billy Bob’s Texas and it has been going ever since. Yeah.
Lisa Schulteis (02:13):
And it has, and if you’ve ever been here, even if you haven’t, you should. The energy in this place is amazing. So not only do they have concerts going on, but, just to my left, I can see the bull ring. So they do bull riding on the weekends as well, indoors, which is a little bit crazy if you think about it and, you know, multiple stages, multiple bars. And, you know, I was just here last week for a concert. It was packed. So it’s a really fun place with a lot of… a lot of high energy to come to. They get some amazing acts here, everybody that you could think of in the country music world. But even some that might surprise you because I know for a fact that Kid Rock sells out in like an instant any time he’s here.
Lauren Davis (03:00):
Yeah. We, try to accommodate as many different genres as we can that we know would do well. We had Nelly, not that long ago. We had, we have a tour called Summerland Fest and it was Hoobastank and Wheatus, and bands like that, that are living just very random and out there. Right. And yeah, Night Ranger. We have quite a few different people here at all times.
Lisa Schulteis (03:26):
Yeah. Hoobastank’s fun too. Yeah. So, so what you might not know about Billy Bob’s, even for those of you who are really familiar with it is they’re not just a honky tonk. Right? They actually do support live, virtual and hybrid events here. So I wanted to talk about that a little bit. How, how do you work as a venue for events that people can actually come and rent the space?
Lauren Davis (03:49):
Yeah. Yeah. So, we are actually in one of our rooms right now called the guitar bar that can be rented out for anything. We have people who come in and just like we’re doing now do interviews in here. Just kind of shoot. We have a lot of neons in here that people just are really interested in. And then around us, there’s different guitars. This is our rock and roll wall with a lot of rock and roll bands that we had. There’s autograph stuff for us and we put it up and we have our more country wall with our more known artists, George Strait, Willie Nelson, people like that. And then we have another room called the Texas club, which is our more formal room and we have wedding receptions there, people hold corporate meetings. The other day we had a cheerleading competition in town and they rented out that space for line dancing.
Lauren Davis (04:33):
And it was kind of interesting. And then in our actual showroom we have the whole open space. We can fit about 5,000 comfortably in there. Our floor itself, I want to say fits around 3000 to 2000 comfortably, and yeah, people rent that out also for corporate events, dinners, weddings, you name it, we do it, set funerals, receptions in there, stuff like that. But also with that, we can do it hybrid… Our team, our production team’s really good with setting it up. So if you come in and you have a corporate event, we’ve been able to live stream it, so other people all over the world, can log in and they can view it also.
Lisa Schulteis (05:14):
So yeah, I know somebody that was holding a one day workshop here and same thing. She had people that were coming in live, but then she also was going to be live streaming it out to a larger audience. She was working with your AV team, she was also working with a virtual production team. Yeah. And so it was a really good arrangement for her. We’re sitting in this room. You can’t see it right now, but I’m looking ahead of me, and they’re setting up the buffet over here on the left side of the table for an event today even. And so there’s always something going on here. Yeah. Now this might seem like a silly question, but you know, what really stands Billy Bob’s apart from maybe another venue, if you are trying to host an event?
Lauren Davis (05:58):
Yeah. I mean, I think just the possibility to kind of just do a lot of random things. That sounds kind of odd, but if you come and host an event, for example, there’s the cheerleading team. It’s a cheerleading team from, I think they’re Pennsylvania. They booked out one of our most formal rooms and then they decided to book line dancing lessons. Our chef who is amazing… He’s world-class… he came, he was able to create a menu just for them, from barbecue to enchiladas, to Italian food, you name it, he can do it. One of our other chefs is actually a French pastry chef. So it’s kind of interesting for that to work out. And, uh, yeah, so the options are really endless. You can also have an event here and book the guitar bar, for example, and then you can also go down and see the concert, or you can get VIP riding and you’ll be at the top of the bull riding arena, looking down and seeing everything happen. You won’t have anyone blocking your view. Super interesting. Um, so yeah, if you’re gonna book an event here, I mean, we have bars to choose from, amazing food options to choose from… the ability to see a show bull riding, you know, dance lessons, you name it, we can do it.
Lisa Schulteis (07:12):
Yeah. And then they do have that AV production support as well, which is really important when you’re looking at the hybrid or virtual event side of it. Not a lot of venues have that. We work with other AV companies too when we’re producing virtual and hybrid events, so it’s always nice to have an onsite live AV production group that you can work with. So it’s a lot of fun. So I know that your primary focus is marketing, but I am curious, you know, we’ve seen a lot going on with events in the last couple of years. Good, bad kind of in between, you know, whether we’re talking pandemic, whether we’re talking weather issues… We had weather issues here in Fort Worth the last couple of days, but really for events, where do you see… Like in 2022… What’s the really important thing that you think you need to focus on for events?
Lauren Davis (08:02):
I really think it’s just having humility… and also understanding. I mean, we actually were one of the only events or only venues to stay open during the whole pandemic. We cut, you know, our attendance, in half, I mean, I think we got down to maybe like 25% and then we slowly worked our way up to find a safe, comfortable number. You know, our staff was really good about everyone had to wear masks, but they didn’t go and, you know, kind of bully you into wearing your mask. They would just ask you a few times, you know, “Hey, please put it on, please remember,” you know, everyone’s already stressed out, they’re here to relieve stress. We don’t want to make, get a more stressful environment for, for people trying to just feel normal for a little while. And I think that was really important is that we tried our hardest to really just show everyone that like we are here open for them while keeping our staff and our team safe as well.
Lauren Davis (08:56):
So for the future events, with everything going on, I mean last year we had 27 sold-out shows. You know, we have about two shows every weekend during our busy season. We have shows Thursday, Saturday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or I mean, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, we have so many all the time. This upcoming week we have a show on Wednesday, we have a hall of fame induction on Thursday, we have a sold out show on Friday and then another show on Saturday. So we are always moving, but definitely for the moving forward, with future events, I think it’s really important to remember that everyone’s here just for the same reason and that’s just to have a good time and so anything we can do to keep everyone, but also ensure that everyone’s, you know, getting what they paid for is super important. So, you know, if that means we do have to work with a show to do live stream, live streaming, or, you know, we can’t do meet and greets anymore right now, but we can give them some kind of swag. We’ll definitely do that.
Lisa Schulteis (09:51):
So definitely in terms of, you know, having an experience and, you know, keeping that experience going, but having the flexibility to change things as well as you need to, I think that’s gonna be a really good focus for everybody here in 2022. Yes. So, and you guys have done a great job with that. As we know, different states, different municipalities change rules all the time. We see rules changing here at this venue… They’ve been really, really good about following those and then just working with people, but still giving people the experience. So if you can do that with your event, you’re gonna have a successful event, no matter what’s going on. So Lauren, thank you so much. I really appreciate the time today. It’s been fun. It’s been great being in this space. I love the space. I actually don’t live in Texas, but whenever I’m back, I’m always here.
Lisa Schulteis (10:36):
And so I really appreciate you taking the time out today. This was great. If you are in Fort Worth, we hope that you will stop by Billy Bob’s and check it out and, you know, consider it for an event too. You know, we have plenty of people that fly their people to corporate events or other events, so definitely consider it as an event space. You can always connect with Lauren if you want any additional information. So, absolutely. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thanks everybody. Appreciate you taking the time to watch today and we’ll see you in the next video.
Lauren Davis (11:04):
See you all soon.