Feld complex houses monster trucks, ice rinks
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ELLENTON, Fla. -- There are a lot of secrets under wraps at Feld Entertainment in Ellenton.
The company is creating Marvel Universe Live, with Spider-man, Hulk and Iron Man. There's also the rehearsals for Disney's ice show based on the mega hit movie Frozen, which starts a national tour this fall. Feld is responsible for 5,000 shows a year including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney Live, Disney on Ice, Nuclear Cowboyz, Monster Jam, Arenacross and Marvel.
The massive facility, which opened in 2013, holds two dozen monster trucks worth up to $300,000 each, 13 portable ice rinks, plus circus trains and 10,000 glittery costumes with 1 million sequins and rhinestones sewn on costumes for each production.
The Tampa Bay Times (http://tinyurl.com/p5d25yv) reports the billion-dollar entertainment company received nearly $4 million in state and local incentives and grants to keep 148 jobs in Manatee County. Roughly 30 million people attend one of Feld's 5,000 live entertainment shows every year.
And the space, which can fit three football fields between the front door and back of the main building, may be expanding.
Feld uses the site for its own touring shows, but Casey Rodgers, vice president of financial and strategic planning, said the company will rent its space to other companies. ESPN recently filmed a commercial with former Alabama football player C.J. Mosley on a gladiator-style field of battle.
The company ultimately hopes to attract some of the biggest concert tours and Broadway shows in the country. When mega pop stars plan tours, they rent out stadiums for weeks to plot the lighting, pyrotechnics and choreography before hitting the road.
"This is the only place where you can have the space of a rehearsal hall and steps away you can have people who can make any prop or sew any costume," Rodgers said.
The Marvel Universe Live show is currently perfecting its special effects and stunts at the facility before debuting at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in July. After that, the show will set out on an 85 city tour.
"We could not have put on a show of this magnitude without those studios," said Juliette Feld, the third generation running the family business.
Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.
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