Online Petition Addresses St. Louis Summer Rocks Festival Uproar

Categories: Live and Local

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Daniel Ramirez/Flickr
Jeremy Segel-Moss believes St. Louis aldermen will choose money over local culture as they continue to consider inking a long-term deal with ICM Partners to bring music festivals to Gateway Mall beginning Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends in 2015.

The musician, a member of the Bottoms Up Blues Gang and vice president of the St. Louis Blues Society, started a MoveOn.org petition to voice concerns about the Summer Rocks proposal that's now awaiting approval from a city government committee.

See also: Questions Remain About Summer Rocks Festivals; Vote Postponed

Segel-Moss said the issues outlined in the petition mirror much of the talk among St. Louis musicians. "All I did here was put together the arguments I've been hearing and allow folks to raise their voice," he said in a brief interview.

RFT Music: When did you first hear about the festival proposal?

Jeremy Segel-Moss: As a person involved in the blues community, a musician and vice president of the St. Louis Blues Society, I was made aware of the bill a week or two ago because of the changes it would make to STL Bluesweek and Taste of St. Louis. I was also at the first aldermen's meeting to find out more about the bill.

Are you completely against the idea of these festivals, or are you concerned that it's being fast-tracked through the city government?

I am definitely not opposed to festivals in the city of St. Louis. However, this particular bill, without being passed, has displaced no fewer than three St. Louis-run festivals. It seems destructive to me to impose a megafestival on the city during the weekends we already have two successful events -- as well as not allowing others to surface for the next ten to twenty years. It is the way in which this bill is being fast-tracked without any investigation into the real economic and community effects. Also, this bill and the festival have affected me because they specifically affect St. Louis culture.

Aside from Taste and Bluesweek, which is the third you're talking about?

The St. Louis World's Fair event that was supposed to take place Labor Day weekend in Forest Park, which has now been pushed to two weeks later so as to not conflict. I also have issue that they will be replacing two free events with two events that will, on average, cost about $250 for the weekend.

Can you see any argument where this might be good for the city in any way?

Honestly, I think the biggest upside is the conversation surrounding the bill and its effects. The music, art and food communities are having the conversation about how much we are worth to the city of St. Louis. Clearly, if the powers that be thought we were an economic commodity, they'd be building stages instead of ballpark villages. They'd be investing in the already successful, world-class events that are the end result of local people celebrating local talent. That, to me, is the beginning of change.

Do you think any of the festivals have the reason and marketing power of ICM? Can you see where an economically depressed city might enjoy the million in outside money spent to pull off these festivals, not to mention the money spent by festival-goers?

No they do not. However, the festivals that they own -- Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits and the likes -- didn't start as huge events. They started like Bluesweek. Like Taste. I can certainly see where the immediate money is helpful to the city. However, if you're looking at the long term, I believe that, over time, the culture of St. Louis is worth far more than what ICM is offering.

If these festivals were in addition to the already successful free events, I really would have less of a problem. But they push out what has already been working. There is no language in the bill to include St. Louis musicians or artists. There is no allocation of funds to support out world-class music scene. In fact, I'm not sure where all this money will go.

Continue to page two for more.


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37 comments
ejrinwitaj
ejrinwitaj

Something tells me these are not worthy of answers to the real question. Neither of our great local events make any profits to the city, rather they cost the taxpayer money. Summer Rocks on the other hand can reverse that. So really it's the freeloaders that need to change their schedule around a little bit. There is plenty of hot and humid summer in this city to share.

Jason Mills
Jason Mills

I was disappointed in the organization of LouFest. We followed their recommendations and parked at Metro lot and took their "doorstep drop-off" shuttle. The doorstep was several blocks from the event. We left before Wilco came on to beat the mad dash at the end of the show. They advertised that the shuttles would run every 15 minutes. We waited an hour with a growing crowd and no shuttle appeared. We finally caught a cab after 90 minutes or so. I've been to other festivals across the US and Loufest was one of the most disorganized and inaccessible I've visited. If the festival is downtown at least I can overpay for parking and get in and out of it efficiently.

Nicholas Allen
Nicholas Allen

Well those people who are not excited can suck a fat ....

Edward Hecker
Edward Hecker

So Entertainment St. Louis has absolutely no way of moving the dates for its two festivals to two of the other 363 days of the year? Really? No, I think Enertainment St. Louis' move to Chesterfield was for business purposes, had nothing to do with the City government, and, now, they are upset they will face formidable competition after they made the mistake of moving. Jeremy's organization is closely linked to Entertainment St. Louis through the Blues Fest. This looks like a case of business sour grapes to me.

Karla Terhark
Karla Terhark

Is STL a big enough market to support loufest and this festival? I want it to succeed, but I don't think people outside of a reasonable driving radius would choose to come here for a festival. STL is not a destination city on most peoples radar, as opposed to festival cities like Austin, Chicago, Seattle ....Kansas city had to cancel their entire kanrocksas event last summer due to low ticket sales and they had some really great bands, it was unfortunate.

Joshua Steinmetz
Joshua Steinmetz

This petition is dumb. There are tons of places to see local acts. A major music festival a bike ride away from where I live would be great.

Tim Corkill
Tim Corkill

Make it a free gangster rap festival it will attract kids as far away as pacific misery..

David Ames
David Ames

So it displaced a couple of smallish fests and pushed back another? I'm so sick of the hipster cry babying in this town. It's the only thing worse than do nothing conservatives "because we can't spend tax dollars!" This town desperately needs something to put it back on the map. There will be no St. Louis culture period if we continue to slip in to obsolescence.

Lisa Foehner
Lisa Foehner

I would think the the aldermen would offer amendments to the proposal to guarantee local performers opportunities to participate, charge more money for the 20 year lease, and perhaps make a percent of the money go towards contributions to local cultural and art institutions as a concession? These are just a few ideas to consider, and I'm sure there are many more. We can't be all or nothing.

Gregory Hunt
Gregory Hunt

Arts and Entertaiment board passed bill 238 for submission to Board of Alderman. This will be ICM Partners 1st event. Ever. Get ready for 'country' on Memorialweek-end, urban and alternative on Labor Day. To wit: the city lost a blues music event and there can be no other music events in the city from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Thank you very much. Why do they get this language in the contract w/the city? For 10 years w/ 10 year option. If their expectation of success is so high, why no compete clause? LouFest gets to operate in Forest Park. Oh yeah .... It's done by an outfit from Austin. Those outta-town people really know STL better than anybody here.

Gregory Hunt
Gregory Hunt

The STL Blues Society has NO financial interest in Bluesweek or Taste. I, and Blues Society members, VOLUNTEER to work these events. O k, blues music doesn't enjoy the popularity of the "big name" acts this company could provide, but why not have these mega-events some other time, huh? How much do you sell your music heritage for? STL is sure know world-wide for it's contributions to country music. And LouFest is the week after the proposed rock/pop event. Got enuff disposable cash to attend both? Forest Park was sought as a site years ago, like in the 90's.... City said no. If this legislation has to be fast-tracked and with limited publicity, as it is, it seems that a someone or someone's wants this to happen, and most likely to benefit a small, select group.

Sheila Smith
Sheila Smith

I was going to attend the blues festival that is held over Memorial day weekend downtown till I was told it will be in Chesterfield this year. I will stay in KC now. Very sad.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

A lot of people have chosen to stay out of St Louis, Edward, thus the development of inner suburbs, outer suburbs, and exurbs. Defiant gestures do nothing to improve the city or make it more a attractive place to live and work.

dunnh
dunnh

Sorry RFT'ers, but this is a stupid fight and a strawman argument. Bluesweek and Taste didn't even fit under the criteria of events that would be blocked by the non-compete clause. They weren't "chased" out of the city by ICM. Maybe they felt pressured and took an easier path to still put on their event, but under no circumstances is there any truth to the claim that they were forced out by this clause in an agreement that hasn't even been signed yet. There is no current event that is or would be locked by the non-compete clause. Neither is there much reason to believe that a multi-stage, multi-day, paid admission, rock or country music festival that would draw in excess of 25k people and would bring in nationally coveted artists could be potentially organized locally, compete with, and subsequently be blocked by ICM in addition to LouFest and the several other major locally-organized musical festivals which are exempted in the agreement. This is an absolutely silly fight. Read the agreement. If this is all about preserving and protecting the cultural legacy of blues music in St. Louis, please note that a large scale, paid admission, blues festival would be permitted at any time under the agreement. It only bans similar rock and country festivals.

Edward Hecker
Edward Hecker

Sure. All the C.W. fans who live in "East County" - that would be across the river. They will be happy to take Metrolink. And they're will be plenty of safe parking. There will be an admission charge, and the producers and the city will get their price because it will be a big production with big names (unlike Taste and Bluesweek). StL leaders didn't run anyone out of town. Entertainment St. Louis left for what they perceived was a better business opportunity in Chesterfield. Now they have BIG competition they didn't have before. Call the Whaaaambulance! And, stay out of St. Louis, if you don't like our city, btw.

Edward Hecker
Edward Hecker

The neutral musician who started this petition is an officer of the St. Louis Blues Society. The St. Louis Blues Society is heavily invested in Entertainment St. Louis, the production company that produces Taste and Bluesweek, now of Chesterfield, not St. Louis. He has a vested financial interest in having noooo competition for his company's events in Chesterfield on Memorial and Labor Day. The new music fests St. Louis City is considering bringing in on those dates is going to be much larger and more profitable for both the city government and the downtown business district, in general than Taste and Bluesfest, combined. This is a simple case of a businessman crying foul after the space he left behind is taken over by a more powerful competitor. 'Bye-'Bye Taste and Bluesfest! You're a Chesterwhatever institution, now!

Sarah Hall
Sarah Hall

Tell them they can hold the new festival in chesterfield

Jake Woodworth
Jake Woodworth

Why can't they have the festival in Forest Park like Loufest??? then it won't be disrupting any of the other events downtown. Why the hell would you want to go to a mega concert in downtown. OOO there's a good place to sit on the concrete

David B Fowler
David B Fowler

Yeah can we be a metropolitan area?. No city thinks the deserve it all. If was safe. Different.

pzundel14
pzundel14

If the festivals have moved to Chesterfield, why is the City wasting tax money hiring a lawyer to navigate this deal that highlights a monopolistic clause in it? That should be the real question...

Gregory Hunt
Gregory Hunt

Can one of you brainiacs tell me how many country music fans would go east of 270 to see a music event, and an event that lasts 3 days? Out-of-towners? Where will they park; sure as hell won't take Metro. There's an ADDMISSION CHARGE; like that? Verizon has country mega-ticket shows all summer, why eliminate a FREE event showcasing our local, and some regional and national, musical heritage. And if this corp. gets tired off being here, like, not meeting their business ( money) projections, it can sell the deal with the city to any party they chose; STL has no input. Yeah... Let our " leaders" run Bluesweek and Taste outta town and give to an LA-based outfit, that does not directly run these 2 proposed mega festivals. Geez zus.

Bradley Kalish
Bradley Kalish

If them other festivals are in Chesterfield then why would it matter?

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

These icm partners events are going to blow anyway... I'm Into local entertainment... Pop stars suck

Drew Walker
Drew Walker

Anytime St. Louis has a chance to get something really awesome, we just try and piss it away with bullshit like this. Everything we are doing now is small potatoes compared to what this festival could be.

William J. McKean
William J. McKean

ICM Partners have no stake in the musical heritage and culture in St. Louis. I've always been proud St. louis being a big city with a small town feel. Many of us have made our summer holiday plans around the locally run events and festivals. Surely there are other dates available for their mega-concerts. Thanks for reading...vent over.

John Edmund
John Edmund

This will bring money from other city's too St. Louis. Yes we already have local festivals on those dates, but this would bring people from all over the midwest.

William J. McKean
William J. McKean

Once again big money is at work. ICM Partners has no stake in the musical heritage and culture of St.Louis. I've

Marc Seleman
Marc Seleman

What a shame to destroy any outlet for showcasing the local talent of St. Louis in the name of money. If done correctly both could be accomplished.

Dan Kelemen
Dan Kelemen

Just bring the big name acts and leave those other events to find somewhere else to be held. Change is good and with the ballpark village it seems like the nightlife and entertainment is coming back down town. Plus why not hare the TOSTL and Blues Fest at other dates. Just saying.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

I'm burned out, just apathetic at this point. StL politicians are the worst. They have no business doing anything until they actually go to one summer music festival, preferably in a city somewhere.

grandhighjman
grandhighjman

"Plus why not hare the TOSTL and Blues Fest at other dates." Because this contract contains a clause which would forbid any new large-scale festival schedulings in the City ALL SUMMER LONG. They'd have to be moved either *before* Memorial Day (into the end-of-school madness of May, into the rainy madness of April, into the completely inconsistent weather madness of March, or into the cold of winter) or *after* Labor Day (into the back-to-school madness of September, into the Halloween madness of October, into the Thanksgiving madness of November, or into the cold of winter).

southcityresident
southcityresident

You obviously have not read the non compete clause because until the people putting on bluesweek are drawing 30,000 people per day for 3 days (or 90,000) people and are ivesting $4 million per festival, then the non compete doesn't apply.

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