Leon County Debates Approaches To Managing Amphitheater Concerts

Leon County Debates Approaches To Managing Amphitheater Concerts

After three concerts in the new Amphitheater in Cascades Park, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners received a detailed analysis of what went right, what went wrong and options for future activities.
The raw numbers show that the three concerts cost the taxpayers approximately $175,000. The losses were attributed to the lack of attendance.

The total attendance for the Tracy Lawrence concert was 1,377 and 1,437 for the Charlie Wilson concert. The Rodney Atkins concert only drew 632 paying customers while over 1600 tickets were given away for promotional reasons.

Estimates indicate that attendance needs to be closer to 3,000 people per show to be sustainable.

However, given the unwelcomed financial news, there were some bright spots according to the report.

The investment in the first few concerts will make large promoters aware of the benefits the venue has to offer, and eventually draw promoters who will take some of the financial risk away from the County.
Staff told the Commission

ers that although “there was a greater-than-anticipated investment associated with hosting these events, feedback has been very positive as attendees expressed satisfaction with the venue, the customer service, and the quality of entertainment.”
In addition to demonstrating that the Amphitheater could successfully host concerts with extensive light and sound requirements, the County received substantial media exposure within and outside of Leon County.

The report to the Board used operational information from the St. Augustine Amphitheater to show that St. Augustine’s financial history was basically “break even” even after nearly a decade of performances. A 2013 economic impact study of the St. Augustine Amphitheater found that nearly 65 percent of attendees were visitors from outside of St. Augustine.

Moving forward, the Commissioners are faced with a decision regarding who will bear the risk of future activities at the Amphitheater. The self-promoting approach used during the first three concerts puts all the financial risks with taxpayers.

The hope is that the initial investment with the first three concerts will result in some co-promoting opportunities from promoters of events that feel the venue can host a profitable show.

6 Responses to "Leon County Debates Approaches To Managing Amphitheater Concerts"

  1. How is it right in ANY scenario where the promotors have no skin in the game??
    How does this stuff ever get pushed through. He Could care less if the event is a success. Read the budget outlay again as he gets 5k a month PLUS a percentage of the cost of the show and Monies to pay his staff working the show. What BS.

    I won’t even go into how he targets the audiences.

  2. I can think of better things to do with taxpayers money – apparently someone doesn’t know how to run a “concert” business. Glad I’m not the one doing it!

  3. What’s the good of hosting concerts no one goes to? That is not the business of government. If necessary, put it to the voters to see if they want to keep shelling out $60,000 per event.

    Put a price on renting it, and when someone wants to hold a stage play or a quartet, they can pay the posted rental, or the fee can be negotiated. In the planning of this debacle, it was intended to be for low key small events. I recall Shakespeare week being mentioned.

    Dump the $5000/month concert promoter as a first step. That’s a real liability with no performance.

    My grandpa knew what to call this: “Throwing good money after bad.”

    1. In my past I booked a lot of live acts ranging from 300-5000 capacity. Different venues for different acts back in the indie band days of late 80’s early 90’s. I totally agree with you Mark that $5,000 monthly to a promoter is ridiculous. That money could be spent in many much better ways.
      If I were in charge of putting together this venue as a tourism magnet, like they say St. Augustine has become, I would leave the promotion to the promoter with a set venue minimum plus percentage, like everyone else. Take that $60,000 a year and use it to pay for event insurance.
      I guarantee that an outdoor venue in the “sunny south” scares the hell out of any management company putting together a tour. I think covering event insurance would go a long way toward attracting more mid-major acts.

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