Summer Rocks Festival Proposal Scrutinized Over No-Compete Concerns
ICM first approached real estate developer Steven Stogel about the proposal in the fourth quarter of 2013. (He's murky on dates and times, saying his secretary keeps those records. Maybe it was October, maybe it was November.) St. Louis Magazine's glowing 2006 list of the "50 people Who Run St. Louis" placed Stogel at No. 33, noting his advisement of the city on the redevelopment of the Gateway Mall where Summer Rocks would take place.
"ICM was interested in trying to do festivals that could bookend the summer," he said. "I got to know the ICM guys, and I was pleased to introduce them to people in St. Louis."
The Labor Day weekend festival would feature rock and pop acts while the Memorial Day weekend festival would feature country artists.
Stogel said that ICM believes there's an audience of 55 million people within a 300-mile radius that could bring hotel, restaurant, bar and festival revenue to downtown St. Louis.
The deal would pay the city $400,000 a year, adjusted for inflation, for use of city services. The city would also get a licensing fee and percentage of the gross, according to the proposed bill. Estimates don't include any sales-tax revenue that would also be good news for city coffers.
"Downtown St. Louis is not really active over those weekends unless the Cardinals are in town," Stogel said. "Tourist groups and folks at city hall, everybody seems to think that this will really work. There's every intention planned to work with all of the festivals. St. Louis is a very good music town. Some folks are concerned to the extent that there have been some legitimate concerns about the language. But St. Louis is a good music town. All of these festivals can add up to be more than the sum of its parts. I think this can be a great thing for St. Louis."
Other St. Louis festival organizers are staying mum thus far.
We reached out to LouFest officials, who responded with a prepared statement that didn't address the issue of potential no-compete clauses or the effect that it might have on the 2015 festival.
Folks from the Big Muddy Blues Festival also didn't respond to e-mails seeking comment.
We reached out to ICM officials, who did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.
John May's biggest concern is that the festival would be a bust and that the city would find itself locked into another long-term deal with out-of-town interests.
"It is a contract, so anything in the future can't be considered as an alternative," he said.