In case you somehow missed it: No access across the river for tonight’s Michael Franti concert

Sunday, August 11th, 2013, 11:17 am by Ben Salmon

(I put the word “somehow” in the subject line because this has been covered everywhere and created lots of discussion, but maybe there’s a reader out there who’s been out of the loop.)

Beginning with tonight’s Michael Franti & Spearhead concert, the Old Mill District will not allow people to sit across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater and listen to the music for free.

I’d give you some of the reasons for the move, but since I wrote 1,200 words on the subject in Friday’s paper, I think a link will do: Read the article.

Hate clicking links? Well, here’s arguably the biggest reason among several:

The Old Mill is making the move now to curb rumors in the touring industry that Les Schwab Amphitheater is not a secure venue, said the venue’s manager, Marney Smith. Monqui Presents, the Portland-based company that books bands at the amphitheater, has heard in recent conversations with potential 2014 bookings that Les Schwab Amphitheater “is not the right place to go,” in Oregon, Smith said.

With increased competition for touring acts in Portland and Eugene, and from Jacksonville’s Britt Festival, that’s not a reputation the Schwab can afford to have, she said, especially in a music industry where declining album sales are forcing bands to make their money on the road.

“(Bands and their representatives are) looking at how they can make the most out of each stop. And if they’re looking at Oregon … they’re going to pick the (place) that they can sell the most tickets to and they can guarantee they can make the most money,” Smith said. “We’re getting a reputation that we want to nip in the bud: that we’re a venue that people can see the music for free.”

A crowd gathers on the patio at Greg's Grill across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater during a 2009 concert by the country band Sugarland.

A crowd gathers on the patio at Greg’s Grill across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater during a 2009 concert by the country band Sugarland.

(Photo courtesy the Old Mill District)

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2 Responses to “In case you somehow missed it: No access across the river for tonight’s Michael Franti concert”

  1. That Jack Elliott says:

    Ben, this is one of those issues where I can see both sides. Except this (from your article on Friday):

    “The amphitheater received numerous complaints from people who sat for free on the east side of the river that they couldn’t hear Diana Krall the last time she performed there, she said.”

    Really? You set up a lawn chair across the river to poach free music, and the artist is a jazz performer, not a loud rock band, and you get upset that you can’t hear her? Isn’t that about the same as eating off someone else’s plate at a restaurant and complaining that the steak isn’t cooked to your liking?

  2. Ben Salmon says:

    Incredible, right? And the other guy: “If they’d just angled the stage differently, no one would need a ticket!” Man … what were they thinking?

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