Summer Rocks Festival Proposal Scrutinized Over No-Compete Concerns

Categories: Live and Local

summrocks.jpg
Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
Los Angeles talent agency ICM Partners is working on plans to hold dual Summer Rocks music festivals in downtown St. Louis' Gateway Mall, beginning the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends in 2015. Proponents of the festival say that St. Louis' geographically central location makes it a perfect travel destination, and it would be a boon for just about every business that benefits from tourism. Skeptics worry that the deal is a disingenuous sleight-of-hand proposal that could see the city locked into a ten- or twenty-year contract with out-of-town interests.

ICM is no slouch, and its success is hard to understate. The company represents just about every major musician, comedian and performer worth anything in this country and many others. Its concert division has a hand in a few festivals with familiar names including Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza. The company reported 2013 revenues of about $200 million.

But will its magic work in St. Louis? That remains to be seen.

See also: St. Louis City Committee Talks of New Major Downtown Music Festival

Since RFT Music broke the story about the Summer Rocks proposal brought before the city's Convention, Tourism, Arts & Humanities committee last Friday, some people have taken to the Internet and social media to decry it as the end of St. Louis' homegrown music festivals.

That also remains to be seen.

The proposal's so-called no-compete clause was enough to raise the eyebrows of the aldermen who sit on the committee. A hearing scheduled for today at 11 a.m. at city hall's Kennedy Hearing Room will address the issue.

Alderwoman Marlene Davis stressed in her initial interview with RFT Music that committee members shared similar concerns that the vague language of the contract left little room for anyone other than Summer Rocks.

John May, chairman of the St. Louis Blues Society, has been involved in numerous blues and music festivals in downtown St. Louis for years. He plans to attend today's meeting to listen to the proposal, but he's not optimistic about the way the deal will work. The common comparison, he said, is that Chicago can sustain both the Pitchfork Music Festival and Lollapalooza, two very well-attended festivals, over the course of a single summer. So, it goes without saying that St. Louis is just as capable.

"They're using that as an example, but the space at Gateway Mall is not the same as Grant Park, or designed to hold large quantities of people. We don't really don't have that with the seating we have up there," he said. "There has to be some consideration before they move on, otherwise they've had their minds made up before this all got started. It is a public space and contracting with a for-profit business, I guess it's something I'm a little reticent to look at with what's going on with the football and the Ballpark Village."

May is referring to the $700 million build-or-bust financing predicament the city's Convention and Visitor Center finds itself in with the owners of the St. Louis Rams and the city's $650 million investment in the properties adjacent to Busch Stadium.

Continue to page two for more on the proposed deal.



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36 comments
RiverfrontTimes
RiverfrontTimes

@InsideSTL Thanks again for sharing! We'll have more on the issue tomorrow. Today's hearing was crazy with info!

Don Lanier
Don Lanier

Why do they need a No Compete clause when they know its two of the biggest holidays

Eric Brands
Eric Brands

""Downtown St. Louis is not really active over those weekends unless the Cardinals are in town," Stogel said."" Maybe its because people are all gone and enjoying their Labor day Holiday time away from work..... This will just force even more people to have to work over the holidays.. (Yes, like me setting up these concerts) I really miss holidays. :-)

James Wright
James Wright

But look at the lineups at roo and Lola, worth the money to go see.

James Wright
James Wright

I want to see a mock lineup, I get a bad feeling this will be an "I heart radio lineup". If that's the case, noooo thanks.

Adam C Gabor
Adam C Gabor

Do it. Look at the income Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, etc.. Brings In.

David Dwars
David Dwars

No to no compete. Otherwise they are welcome with open arms

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

Retarded question. It would be GREAT

Chris Totty
Chris Totty

Except there were 50,000 people that attended the Bluesweek Festival over the 3 days last Year. Too bad you were not down there Tony Parente. Check ur Facts First!!!!!

Jeffrey Nunn
Jeffrey Nunn

Why would you offer a contract like this to an out of town event promoter anyway? There are concert promoters, talent booking agencies, and event producers right here in St. Louis who are perfectly capable of coming together and handling a festival like this. Why ship that revenue out of town and squash free market competition at the same time? How is this in the best interests of the city's businesses or residents again?

beetkid
beetkid

@rftmusic yeah it would suck if Verizon couldn't book Hagar, Buffet, and DMB to play. Place would have to shut down.

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

Yeah and all 15 people that attend those festivals? HA!

Chris Totty
Chris Totty

Horrible for us. This City has and Always will be known for it's Blues Music. Hell our Hockey Team is Named after it for God's Sake. To Allow this will be shutting down our Blues Fests ( Big Muddy and Bluesweek) and our Blues Heritage.

Chris Gee
Chris Gee

Don't worry people, chesterfield will handle it.

Gabriel Marrero
Gabriel Marrero

Anything that brings people to St. Louis is good, but no compete? That's like telling people it will be a crappy show!

Mathias James
Mathias James

The no compete clause is bullocks. I don't like the idea of out of town promoters throwing their weight around in a city that works very hard to put itself on the map with locally produced festivals. I am interested to hear about the meeting so I will keep an open mind for now, but I am guessing that the festival will mostly include pop-up radio friendly bands with zero local influence. Like I said on another thread, I do hope I am wrong.

Dragana Totic
Dragana Totic

It would b awesome why do we have to trawel to other cities to c bands,lets bring them here and have fun right here in st Louis! YES,it would b good for our city!!!!!!

Shane Smith
Shane Smith

It would probably land in Chesterfield

Willie Ryan Salomon
Willie Ryan Salomon

Im not sure pointfest will be be effected seeing as how the event takes place in county limits.

Linda SansSouci
Linda SansSouci

As long as they get a guarantee (in writing) to also use local band talent, it probably would be worthwhile, since many popular bands have habitually omitted St. Louis from their tour schedules.

John Buehlhorn
John Buehlhorn

In a related article, it stated that the no compete clause did not affect already existing events such as Loufest.

Matt Berger
Matt Berger

The no compete clause only effects 2 entities really. Pointfest and LouFest. Pointfest hasn't been interesting in decades and I have a feeling that the artists playing LouFest would be similar to the proposed rock/pop festival.

Willie Ryan Salomon
Willie Ryan Salomon

I like the idea of knowing there will be big festys in the city limits, but in a city bursting with creative energy at the seams, a no compete clause, while it makes sense, goes against the creative spirit that is st Louis.

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

GO FOR IT! With pointfest being a complete waste the last few years we need a good rock festival to look foreword to.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

How can you honestly ask the question before knowing anything about the festival? Seriously RFT.

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