After nearly ten years as Juanita’s talent buyer, Erin Hurley said today that he’s taking an indefinite leave of absence, explaining the move in an email, “I need to get away from this business for a while.”

Hurley said he’ll remain bar manager.

Juanita’s GM James Synder, local promoter Mike Zimmerebner (better known as Mike Z) and local talent buyer and owner of The Village Blake Sandifer will assume the shared role of replacing Hurley, Snyder said today.

These changes come to Juanita’s a little more than two months after new ownership took control.

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I posed three questions to Snyder: Does this mark a shift in Juanita’s booking focus? Do he and his partners plan on hosting concert more frequently? And does Juanita’s consider it a conflict that Sandifer also continues to book The Village and recently began booking Downtown Music (the concerts he’s booked for each of the three venues are now listed at arkansaslivemusic.com).

Snyder’s responses:

1) Yes, you’ll see a marked difference in the booking at Juanita’s. More mainstream Top 40/Country/Rock artists, less underground, hip-hop, and hardcore metal.

2) We do not plan to book the room five nights a week for the sake of having five shows a week. If there is a show at Juanita’s, we want to be confident it will be a quality show people will enjoy. In the past, we’ve been guilty of filling dates because they were empty and we want to focus on quality not quantity.

3) We are concerned about the potential for a conflict of interest with Blake’s booking three venues. Our hope is by focusing on mainstream artists, he will be able to point Metal shows to Downtown and HipHop to the Village. We feel he’s going to do a great job for us, and that he’ll point the right shows in the right direction. This isn’t much different than a couple of years ago when Erin was booking Vino’s, Juanita’s, and The Village. A balancing act to be sure, but with the right mindset, I think he’ll be fine.