|X| MUSIC |X| Atlantic City Council Approves Four Outdoor Music Festivals for Bader Field, with Phish, Kenny Chesney, Metallica

By EMILY PREVITI Staff Writer pressofAtlanticCity.com

ATLANTIC CITY — Four multiday music festivals have been approved by City Council for Bader Field this year.

Press of Atlantic City columnist Pinky Kravitz reports in today’s Region section that headliners for the festivals will include Phish, Kenny Chesney and Metallica.

Ken MacDonald, Starr Hill Presents’ director of venue development, however said on Wednesday that “no one on the planet” could confirm headliners at this point. Doing so now also would not adhere to the company’s marketing and advertising timelines, he said.

MacDonald spoke just before Atlantic City Council voted unanimously to allow Starr Hill to book Bader Field on Sept. 22 and 23, and Sept. 29 and 30.

Council’s approval applied to the contract between the city and promoter for those events and others slated for June 15 to 17 and June 24 and 25. The June weekends had been approved by City Council on Dec. 3.

But two weeks later, council members got a peek at the contract expected to cover all four dates. Some council members objected to cost and box office revenue-sharing formulas proposed by Starr Hill for using the 142-acre former municipal airport, which is still owned by the city.

They also worried that the events might obstruct scheduling other shows at Bader Field during the summer months because the setup and breakdown of stages, vendor tents and other equipment is so extensive.

Starr Hill’s pledge since then to make a donation in an undisclosed amount to an undetermined charity sealed the deal, Councilman Frank Gilliam said.

Gilliam said Wednesday everything else remains unchanged: Starr Hill will pay the city $80,000 per day: a $30,000 rental fee and $50,000 to cover costs to pay the extra police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other staff needed to handle crowds at the events.

Gilliam’s big issue was with the ticket sales arrangement. He wanted $1 for every ticket sold to concerts at Bader Field during the upcoming summer to go to the city.

The city will instead get $1 for every ticket sold above 20,000, the low end of the estimated actual attendance last year on each day of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan.

Bordered by the bay and the Black Horse Pike in the Chelsea Heights section of the resort, the tract hosted one of four DMB Caravan stops last summer. The event drew more than 72,000 fans and put the venue on the entertainment map.

Combined, the events slated for the four weekends during 2012 are expected to bring $191 million to the local economy, Mayor Lorenzo Langford said during his official State of the City address Wednesday.

He also said the field will host a multicultural festival June 1 to 3, plus its second seafood event in September.

The city also hopes to let music fans camp out this summer — something that was scrapped last year without much consideration because Bader Field doesn’t have adequate access to water for drinking, bathing or bathrooms.

That could change during the coming months, officials said Wednesday.

“We’ll look into any request they want us to, but that’s up to the (deputy police) chief and the mayor,” said Tom Foley, the city’s emergency management coordinator. “There’s talk of putting a water system out there this year. There’s also talk of fireworks. There’s all kinds of things we’re working on because of all the events we want to have there.”

Water main extensions would provide hookups for temporary facilities — not permanent structures, Foley said.

The Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority said it could come up with cost estimates for extending water service from the existing main on Albany Avenue once the city and promoter decide where they want the camping area, said MUA Executive Director Neil Goldfine.

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