Danbury Mayor on Why Headlining Bands No Longer Play the Ives Concert Park
On Thursday (7/27/23), Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito joined us for his weekly chat. We talked about a variety of things but one topic stood out.
We are constantly getting questions from our listeners about what, if anything is going on with the Ives Concert Park. "The Ives" is an outdoor venue on the Western Connecticut State University campus that used to play host to national, headlining bands. But there has not been much to say in recent years.
Large Dave asked the Mayor if he could speak on it, wondering what the Mayor knew, this is a portion of our conversation:
We've had events at the Ives Concert Park over the years and we still get questions about it from our listeners, saying hey what happened to the Ives Concert Park? How come there aren't any big shows there? Is that something you could speak on?
"The Ives Concert Park is up there, the West side Campus of WestConn so it's mostly a state-owned property but one of the biggest issues we've run into with that is the entertainment, getting those quality entertainers here, singers and everybody. The cost of that is astronomical now and unfortunately it's an outside venue for the most part so god forbid it rains and all the musicians and entertainers are on the bus and they still want there check so it was coming down to finance obviously. I've sat up there laying on a blanket outside listening to John Denver live, it was awesome and I've gone to quite a few of those events up there. Unfortunately, it's become an economic issue because of the cost of the entertainment is so high now and god forbid the weather does not cooperate, we lose a lot of money."
You can listen to our entire Ives discussion with Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito below. The conversation became more in-depth as we spoke about the cost of hosting a headlining band in 2023. We also told some of our personal Ives Concert Park stories. Stories, like the time Mark Boughton almost ripped up the check for the Black Crowes due to their lack of cooperation.
The Ives Concert Park used to host huge acts. We used to broadcast live from the venue at least twice a year. I've seen bands like Everclear, Live, The Black Crowes, Blue Oyster Cult, John Cafferty and those are just the ones I remember.
The Mayor does make a good point, the cost of booking national bands is truly unreasonable today especially bands that aren't past their prime. You are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars for one band and then it rains?
Covid-19 didn't make things any easier, it sunk most venues right away and starved the others. I miss going to shows and broadcasting live from the Ives but things are not the same as they used to be, it's just a different time.
I'm sure there are other contributing factors I don't know anything about but whatever they are it wouldn't change the underlying issue, national acts cost too much. In 2014, the Huffington Post published an article that listed the cost of booking certain national acts. Here is some of that list from 7 years ago:
- 3 Doors Down: $150,000 - $250,000
- Big N' Rich - Over $100,000
- The Black Eyed Peas - $400,000 - $500,000
- Bruce Springsteen - Over $1 million
- Counting Crows - Over $150,000
- Daughtry - $200,000 - $300,000
- Coldplay - $750,000
- Matchbox 20 - $150,000 - $250,000
- Collective Soul - $30,000 - $40,000
- .38 Special - $35,000 - $45,000
- Joan Jett - $40,000 - $60,000
I'll bet these prices have gone way up from the 2014 numbers. I have a few friends that run venues and if I gave them this list, they would laugh me out of the room. I'm beating a dead horse, it just costs too much money.
We also talked to the Mayor about a friend of his who played in the NFL and is now running for a Danbury City Council seat.
Full interview below.
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