Following a reported dispute over its no-bid contract with state fair officials earlier in the year, Live Nation is being replaced as the live music promoter for the New York State Fair in 2009, the fair announced this month. Louisville, KY-based Triangle Talent, Inc., which has worked with 16 state fairs, including Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin in recent years, won the bid and will promote the live music for the New York event, which is scheduled for August 27 to September 7. Live Nation re-bid to land the program, but after losing out to Triangle, it said it will not allow any of the acts it promotes to appear at the Syracuse-based fair.
Terms of the agreement with Triangle were not disclosed, but according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Live Nation was paid about $700,000 to produce 11 shows for the fair in 2008.
Unlike last year’s 11 concerts, Triangle is contracted to present only seven concerts with national acts in the 17,000-seat grandstand as well as book acts for the fair’s daily free concerts at Chevy Court.
But according to Jim Koplik, Northeast regional chairman of Live Nation, none of those acts will be from Live Nation’s roster. “I am very disappointed in the decision made by New York State, and I believe the real loser is the people who attend the fair as the talent package that will be offered to the fans will be less attractive,” Koplik told TicketNews. “I worked with AEG in holding a Kenny Chesney date at the Fair but will obviously not assist putting any more shows at the fair.”
The music line-up for the 2008 fair included The Jonas Brothers, Rascal Flatts/Taylor Swift, Daughtry, The Goo Goo Dolls/Gavin DeGraw, Journey/Heart/Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Brooks & Dunn/ZZ Top, Boston/Styx, and Vanessa Hudgens/Corbin Bleu. Live Nation has promotional contracts with the Jonas Brothers, Rascal Flatts and Journey, among those acts.
The specific bands that Triangle plans to book for the 2009 fair have not yet been disclosed, but in the past the company has booked several national acts for shows and fairs, such as Alicia Keys, Brooks and Dunn, Carrie Underwood, James Taylor, John Mellancamp, Chesney, Kid Rock, REO Speedwagon, Toby Keith, Vince Gill and ZZ Top.
Live Nation reportedly bid to receive $6.50 per ticket sold for the 2009 fair, the same amount it received in 2008, but Triangle will supposedly be paid significantly less, according to fair officials. Just how much Triangle will receive was not disclosed.
“When we bid on a project and lose it, we don’t feed the project shows,” Koplik told the Post-Standard. “I think it’s a shame for the people who enjoy going to the state fair for entertainment. I’m pretty confident the quality of entertainment will dramatically drop.”
Koplik’s comments were not well received by some ticket brokers. “The statements that Mr. Koplick made are stupid and possibly illegal if they use their exclusive relationships on one product to offer other products,” said one East Coast broker. “The first product being the artists, and the second would be the booking of the fairs.”
According to the Post-Standard, in the no-bid contract for the 2008 fair, Live Nation was paid $580,872 to book 11 grandstand concerts, and for booking the fair’s free Chevy Court concerts, Live Nation was given a free food and beer concession at a prime fairground location as compensation. The promoter was also promised up to $150,000 to spend in advertising.
Under Live Nation, the New York State Fair’s 2008 season was one of the most successful ever despite a troubling economy driven by spiraling fuel prices at the pumps. Paid attendance increased by nearly 5 percent from 2007, jumping from $1,495,376 to $1,569,355. Full-price, paid attendance at the gate shot up by nearly 12 percent, from 132,602 people to 148,235 people.