Budget for reduced concerts approved

Fri, 08/22/2008 - 3:24pm
By: John Munford

3 concerts left give amphitheater chance to improve results

A plan to cut the number of concerts at Peachtree City's amphitheater in half was approved along with next year's budget for the city's tourism association Thursday night.

There will still be 10 artists coming to the Frederick J. Brown Jr. amphitheater, but they would only play one show instead of two, said tourism board member Bill Bexley.

The change comes as the amphitheater is projected to have a $236,000 loss by the end of this fiscal year, giving the tourism association an overall $82,000 shortfall.

To help with that shortfall, the City Council approved giving $35,000 to the association from the city's portion of the hotel motel tax collections. In a city memo it was noted that the city's hotel motel tax collections were $41,000 over projections for the year so far.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett noted that the City Council will meet with the tourism association Sept. 2 to discuss the future of the amphitheater and tennis center. Both venues are owned by the city but operated by the tourism association, which is classified as a "component unit" of the city and not its own wholly separate agency.

Bexley noted that there are three concerts left this season, and good results there could help improve the amphitheater's bottom line.

But the main reason for the shortfall is due to slower than anticipated ticket sales, Bexley said. In fact, the association's spending is below projections for the year and staff will continue to monitor that in addition to finding additional revenues for the amphitheater and tennis center.

It was noted that the $2.11 million budget includes funds to hire an amphitheater manager or a professional venue management company.

Cory Nestlehutt, who hosted a ultimate fighting event at the "The Fred" said he cleared $50,000 but has no answers as to why he will not be allowed to host a similar event. He added that the city needs "a promoter" for the facility who could be held accountable for results or the lack thereof.

The 2009 budget proposal includes cutting more than $521,000 for the two concert series and slashing "other program expenses" for the amphitheater by an additional $213,000.

It also predicts a lower income from sponsorships, and one sponsor spoke at the meeting to see if the reduced schedule was "set in stone."

Council members said circumstances could change in the future that would allow the city to go back to the two concerts per performer.

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Submitted by concertfan on Tue, 08/26/2008 - 7:45am.

I have been going to the concerts for years and have always enjoyed the experience. The cause of the shortage of ticket sales is that the amphitheater staff does not understanding (or is ignoring) the demographics of the customers. The majority of the season ticket purchasers are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. They type of acts that these customers want to see are groups from the 60s and 70s. In the past, we have had The Beach Boys, Neal Sedaka, Three Dog Night, The Platters, Credence, etc. There is a demand for this type of act. Look at this year's acts, and last year's acts. Tell me how many of these actually appeal to the PTC audience. I renewed my tickets this year to keep my priority for future tickets. Of the seven concerts thus far, I have attended one. And I will probably not attend another (although I like Trisha Yearwood, I'll be out of town that weekend). I have talked to many other season ticket holders and the general opinion has been that, unless the type of acts changes, they will not be renewing in the Spring. Amphitheater staff, please consider this comment or the shortfall next year may be much larger.

Submitted by jsmith on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 11:33am.

It seems like attendees have been threatening for the past couple of years that they were going to stop buying tickets if they didn't make a change. Guess no one was listening! And why is no one being held accountable for the loss now?

Submitted by NeedtoKnow on Fri, 08/22/2008 - 5:43pm.

But I've heard so many negatives about the concert experience there (for years, from different sources) that I just can't get excited enough to actually purchase a ticket. And she's one of the few they've had that I think is actually worth the ticket price!

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 08/25/2008 - 6:54am.

And I've yet to have a negative experience at the Fred. My Wife and I enjoyed a great show this past Saturday night. Check the bulletin board at the Kroger and pick up some tickets and enjoy the show.

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