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Medeski, Martin and Wood canceled

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news
Special to the DailyBreckenridge Music Festival (BMF), canceled the Medeski, Martin and Wood show scheduled for Sunday at the Stephen C. West Outdoor Ice Arena.
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BRECKENRIDGE – They didn’t come, so the BMF canceled it.Wednesday afternoon Jeff Baum, executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF), canceled the Medeski, Martin and Wood show scheduled for Sunday at the Stephen C. West Outdoor Ice Arena. Baum had to make the call to cancel Wednesday, because starting today, the BMF would have incurred more costs. Workers were scheduled to set up temporary fencing today, costing $1,000, and portable toilets were scheduled to arrive, adding another $1,200. The generator, stage and sound system also were scheduled to arrive this week.As it is, the BMF has lost about $10,000 on the show because it had to pay the band half of its contracted price, as well as advertising and the material for the temporary fencing (the latter of which Baum says he can use in the future).Baum had booked the popular groove-based trio in an alternative venue – as opposed to the Riverwalk Center – in hopes of attracting a younger crowd, but poor advance ticket sales caused him to freeze the show.

By Tuesday, people had purchased only 80 tickets, and Baum and the Breckenridge Music Festival committee were skating on thin ice. They were looking at a cost of more than $20,000 to bring the band and the equipment to the ice arena, and they had to decide whether or not to hope sales would jump dramatically.”I could not take the chance that we’d have 1,000 people walk up the day of the show,” Baum said. “It’s just unrealistic. I’ve been in the business too long to pin my hopes on the unrealistic notion that 1,000 people are going to walk up.”If I had sold 400 advance tickets, I would have gone right ahead with the show, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 400 to 600 people walk up the day of the show. But with 80 presales, I could not take the chance. The company just couldn’t take the risk of a $20,000 plus loss – mainly because we had to bring in this equipment.”Many people in Summit County wait for the day of the show to buy tickets. For example, last summer’s Dark Star Orchestra presales were 300, and an additional 400 people bought tickets on the day of the show.Baum hopes to use the venue next summer but points out he needs community support to bring in bigger acts.

“It’s disturbing that the younger crowd isn’t willing to drop money to support acts here because it makes it difficult to book them,” he said. “I would hope that part of the lesson learned by us and by the people in the community is that they have to realize there’s an inherent risk in the events promotion business. Maybe next time people will purchase their tickets early and not just wait for the day of the show.”We’re hoping the trend we see this summer of people not supporting music in Summit County – and nationwide – ends.”Baum believes free shows, such as those at Copper Mountain, Keystone, Frisco and in Eagle County, contribute to the problem of ticket sales in Summit County.”Maybe people have the perception of ‘I’m not spending my money here because I can see something for free,'” he said. In addition to free shows, Baum said the Stockholm Syndrome show, featuring Dave Schools from Widespread Panic, at State Bridge Lodge this weekend, could be drawing people who might otherwise attend the Medeski, Martin and Wood concert.

“This is the first concert I’ve ever canceled in 25 years of booking acts,” Baum said. “We’re all pretty bummed; the agency and artists all are equally bummed. The town of Breckenridge was really supportive; they did a lot of work.”Baum said the band’s management company “played hardball” for a couple days in allowing him to cancel the contract, but a clause gave him a legal way out. The management company, Monterey Peninsula Artists, had no comment.”The Breckenridge Music Festival still looks forward to utilizing the Stephen C. West Outdoor Ice Arena at some point in the future as the large capacity of the ice arena makes it possible to bring in larger national acts that draw greater crowds,” Tracy Schwartz of the BMF said in a press release. “With the support of the residents and visitors to Summit County, this new venue could be a welcome addition to the outdoor concert scene.”Contact the Riverwalk Center Box Office for refunds at (970) 547-3100.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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