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Pesky poles at Billy Bob’s Texas are out. Management credits guest suggestions for work

Billy Bob’s Texas is ushering in a new era of guest experience at the Fort Worth Stockyards landmark by improving sight lines and acoustics.

On a cold and rainy Thursday morning, Billy Bob’s general manager Marty Travis announced that two poles have been removed from the center of the main concert hall. A large truss now hangs overhead where the poles formerly stood in the “World’s Largest Honkey-Tonk”.

Along with removing the poles, the soundboard that previously sat off to the center of the hall has now been moved to the back of the showroom. In total, the renovations took about eight days to complete.

“We want to give [guests] a better quality seat,” Travis said. “Better sound is gonna be in place, better place for the engineer, less obstruction of view. It’s just gonna be a better experience.”

Billy Bob’s Texas general manager Marty Travis announces new renovations to the historic landmark on February 29, 2024.
Billy Bob’s Texas general manager Marty Travis announces new renovations to the historic landmark on February 29, 2024.

Dressed in a blue shirt and black cowboy hat, Travis said the renovations lost Billy Bob’s about 20 seats in its main concert hall.

However, around 250 seats went from having an obstructed to unobstructed view thanks to the removal of the two pesky poles, Travis said. This is the second time in as many years that Billy Bob’s has removed poles from its main showroom, the first coming back in 2022.

“We did add some seats, we did lose some seats,” Travis said. “What we really did was add quality seats.”

By moving the soundboard from the right center to the back of the room, Travis said it’ll improve acoustics in the entire showroom.

Now the sound will have one less thing to bounce off of and it will give the engineer a more top down view to make any adjustments.

“It creates less obstruction of sound and a better quality of sounds to the guy in the back row,” Travis said.

After revamping the main concert hall, Travis said Billy Bob’s is taking a break from any new construction.

Nevertheless, Travis noted a few future renovations he had in mind, such as adding an employee bathroom in the main showroom. The move would help avoid employees from being stuck in general bathroom lines during busy nights.

But for now Billy Bob’s will keep listening to its customers about how they can improve their experience. The best way for fans to see changes to the venue is to keep submitting online surveys after they visit, Travis said.

“We listened to the crowd, we listened to the guests,” Travis said. “Obstructions is a problem, sound is problem. We want to attack our biggest problems.”

The view from the newly moved soundboard at Billy Bob’s Texas that now sits in the back of the showroom on February 29, 2024.
The view from the newly moved soundboard at Billy Bob’s Texas that now sits in the back of the showroom on February 29, 2024.

Billy Bob’s Texas has been in Fort Worth for over a century, first opening as an open-air barn for cattle in 1910. Over the years, the building was used for livestock events, a department store and even as an airplane factory during World War II.

The 100,000-square-foot space was converted into an entertainment hall in 1981. Billy Bob’s has hosted some of the biggest names in music — from country music stars like George Strait, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson to The Beatles’ Ringo Starr.

Billy Bob’s Texas is open Monday from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6 p.m.- 2 a.m. and Sunday from noon- 6 p.m. at 2520 Rodeo Plaza.