Summer Rocks vs. Lollapalooza: By the Numbers

Categories: Live and Local

summerstillrocks.jpg
Eva Rinaldi/Flickr

Local lawmakers have cited Lollapalooza and Chicago's many successes in hosting music festivals as a reason to move forward with a long-term deal to bring two Summer Rocks music festivals to St. Louis. It is only fitting, then, to contrast the proposed Summer Rocks contract with the Lollapalooza contract.

The biggest differences seem to be monetary and in the language that allows for existing events.

See also: Summer Rocks Music Festival Bill Passed By Aldermanic Committee

The renegotiated deal inked in March 2012 between the Chicago Park District and Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents and William Morris Endeavor guarantees that the city still gets $1.5 million each year, even if the festival doesn't take place. (C3 Presents also has a major hand in LouFest. RFT Music has made an open records request to see LouFest's agreement with the city as well.)

The Summer Rocks deal is not so lucrative. Under the current contract proposal with ICM Partners, St. Louis is granted up to $400,000 in payments for the use of city services, adjusted for inflation.

If the festivals don't happen, the city can recoup costs related to its cancellation -- 50 percent of the total amount of the festival reservation fees "with respect to the most recent previous festival that was actually produced with the same type of festival weekend music or the applicable minimum per-festival reservation fee."

Now, to figure out what that means requires a bit of math.

The contract outlines what per-festival reservation fees are for Summer Rocks. If fewer than 30,000 tickets are sold, it's $50,000. Then it becomes part of a sliding scale of up to 10.5 percent earned from ticket sales, if more than 90,000 tickets are sold. This arrangement remains in place for the first decade of the contract. If the city extends its deal beyond the initial ten years, it gets a bigger cut.

Whether that's greater than or equal to the $1.5 million granted to Chicago remains to be seen. It's also worth noting out that Summer Rocks can, at any time, decide to pull the plug on the Memorial Day weekend festival and retain rights to Labor Day weekend, and vice-versa.

The other major sticking point with the Summer Rocks proposal has been the oft discussed no-compete clauses.

Lollapalooza's deal with CPD gives the festival exclusive rights to Grant Park until 2021, although it does grant a number of exceptions.

The contract strictly defines what are not considered competing events, including the Taste of Chicago, Country Music Fest, Gospel Fest, Jazz Fest, Viva! Chicago Latin Music Fest, Celtic Fest and any other annual music event that the CPD has held or permitted to be held in Grant Park in the past three years.

Summer Rock's no-compete clause exempts Loufest, Big Muddy Blues Festival, Fair St. Louis and the Annie Malone May Day Parade, grandfathering the events in. But the city of St. Louis already bid farewell to STL Bluesweek and Taste of St. Louis, which will now take place in Chesterfield. The festivals' organizers, local musicians and members of the St. Louis Blues Society all point their fingers at Summer Rocks.

What also remains to be seen is whether Summer Rocks is going to get into the business of "radius clauses."

Lollapalooza's radius clause has become something of an industry legend. Artists who sign on to perform at Lollapalooza are not allowed to play anywhere within 300 miles of Grant Park in the six months leading up to, and three months following, the festival.

The idea behind such clauses is that allowing artists to perform nearby would dilute the value of the ticket. It's commonplace within music promoting. You wouldn't see Wilco play a string of shows at the Pageant and then play the Peabody Opera House the next week. That's just bad business.

In my brief conversation with Steven Stogel last week, he said that he'd never heard of such a clause in any of his discussions with ICM, but he admitted that his knowledge of the music business is limited. Copies of artists' contracts with Summer Rocks and the terms of those deals aren't generally public. Radius clauses placed on artists over a mere two days during the summer could put a strain on St. Louis' still-burgeoning club and theater venue scene.

Continue to the next page.

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22 comments
cdkraus
cdkraus

Hope you like the band that Steve Stogel's son plays in. We will be having them shoved down our throats for the next 20 years. What a joke. ICM has never produced a music festival. Putting it on at Gateway Mall that will in no way hold enough people to make this festival matter. All the while you have willing and able local individuals that could put on a phenomenal festival. Once again, the only reason this gets done is because one of our petty, little government officials will have money contributed to their fund or they are making money on the side. St. Louis will never matter until the area votes in officials that truly have our entire region in mind when they make decisions. And not the "I vote yes as long as it benefits me personally.

Chad Kitchen
Chad Kitchen

I can understand the concerns, but I see this being a good thing for the city. Revenue and music sound great to me.

Evelyn Dobbs
Evelyn Dobbs

I can't believe the comment "black on white" crime how racist is that?we just need better sites to have these venues

Danny Thweatt
Danny Thweatt

Chicago can host successful festivals because of their diversity, their efficient public transit and their police. A festival in STL will be a cluster of car break-ins, heroin, and black on white crime.

ehecker
ehecker

East St. Louis should develop a controllable/ticketable festival ground across the river from the Arch.  Have some stages or an amphitheater.  Secure parking and Metrolink access...  That would add functionality to festival producers who don't necessarrily want to produce open-street, free festivals.  And, it would put the crowds and noise on the other side of the river, too (within an easy metrolink ride of downtown restaurants and hotels).

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

Yea a cars not my problem either.. I typically avoid going out there tho and cops are one reason.. My ghetto car would stand out.. But also I typically don't have the gas to go that far and spend a ton of money on food and entertainment

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

I do have a car but ya know I dont want to get pulled over for bs being in Chesterfield because im from the city..yep it happens..

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

Its all about money..bluesfest and taste were FORCED to leave stl because of this..its out of town production company..shouldnt we be trying to promote within?!..but some people dont get that while we kill what ee already have to help out others its ridiculousness. .too bad some wont see it that way..also Chesterfield is inaccessible for many..with no public transit to the area..oh wait we gotta keep the riff raff like me who run a Dr s office out because I cant afford it..hmm

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

Oh and screw the rams I just wish we never built them a home

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

This makes me sad... And I give a damn if taste is moved to chesterfield because I won't go there ... However I will go down town for taste and blues week... But I will not go to the summer rocks I don't like what it stands for or the music it will bring

David Ames
David Ames

The conservatives in this town cry about using money for anything, and the hipsters whine about anything that isn't a farmers market. So we're left with nothing anyone that doesn't wear ironic t shirts actually cares about.

David Ames
David Ames

No, St. Louis is turning in to a joke because we stand for nothing and oppose everything. Big damn deal if the Taste moved to Chesterfield. We could be procuring a music festival that puts us on the national stage.

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

And rft if you want to investigate why dont you investigate how easily St Louis is bought off against the will of the people..instead of all ridiculous info you put out about STL ..like which bands are hated here and who the top local artist are..which you have been proven wrong on

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

Well they made the bluesfest and taste of stl leave so that our city can be bought off and NOT allow these things to be here..so that this company has exclusive rights for 20 years the people spoke up and stated that is NOT what they want but.stl is just turning into another bought off corporation owned by the rich even when the people speak they do not get heard..

David Ames
David Ames

Make ot happen St. Louis. Then make sure you keep the Rams here. Let's stop slipping away as a relevant city and DO SOMETHING.

Kevin Grier
Kevin Grier

Loufest has doubled in size each year. C3 has taken it over and they coordinate SXSW. That connection will bring big acts to St. Louis

Shane Smith
Shane Smith

How can we honesty compare the two? Summer Rocks hasn't even rocked yet.

Lisa Burnett Robinson
Lisa Burnett Robinson

Apparently the people negotiating this deal were the ones who negotiated the dome deal to get the Rams to StL. #Incompetent

kwernowsky
kwernowsky

@ehecker  I drove over the new bridge the other day and thought exact same thing. It's the perfect space for something like that. 

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