Advertisement

Archive for Monday, June 20, 2011

Sandstone manager hopes for better ticket sales this summer

A concert attendee crowd surfs at last summer’s Vans Warped Tour at Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone. The venue’s promoters are working toward making this year’s concert season better than last year’s.

A concert attendee crowd surfs at last summer’s Vans Warped Tour at Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone. The venue’s promoters are working toward making this year’s concert season better than last year’s.

June 20, 2011

Advertisement

Reader poll
Are you planning to attend any major concerts this year?

or See the results without voting

— Last year was a “bloodbath” for music venues across the country.

That’s how Chris Fritz describes the dismal concert ticket sales seen in 2010. He says the national average of sales was a whopping 45 to 50 percent below what was seen in 2009.

“So the whole industry got murdered last year,” the president of New West Presentations, a Prairie Village-based management company and the leaseholder of Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone, said. The land the venue sits on is owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.

Sandstone felt the sting, as well, Fritz said, but not as badly as some other venues, bringing in about 25 percent less ticket sales than were hoped for. Still, even though the concert season won’t kick off for another few weeks, Fritz says conditions at the outdoor amphitheater are already improving.

“Oh, it was a bloodbath, it was like a slaughterhouse,” Fritz said of last year. “But we survived it, we licked our wounds, and this year, already, everything looks a whole lot better.”

Sandstone’s summer concert season will kick off July 6 with the Vans Warped Tour — an annual homage to punk rock that tours the country and has traditionally made a stop at Sandstone in the past. Other bands and musicians taking the stage this summer will include 311 and Sublime with Rome (July 8); Rob Zombie (July 16); Kings of Leon and Band of Horses (Aug. 29); and Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance (Sept. 9). Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Bob Seger and Journey tribute bands will also come together for the Rock N’ Roll Dream Concert on July 9.

Tickets are now on sale for all of these shows, and Fritz said ticket sales for the Warped Tour are ahead of what they were last year at this time. He also noted that, as of Monday, tickets sold for Rob Zombie totaled about 7,000 and those for 311 and Sublime were nearing the 10,000 mark.

An increase in ticket sales doesn’t mean Sandstone has zero challenges to overcome, however, Fritz said. The venue is already feeling the competition from nearby LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, which just opened last week in the Village West area of Kansas City, Kan., and this year will be the site of Buzz Beach Ball, a music festival sponsored by 96.5 The Buzz. Prior to this year, Sandstone had been a frequent home of the annual festival.

“It’s a brand new place. It’s a beautiful place to do (Beach Ball),” Fritz said of why Beach Ball organizers decided to move the festival to LIVESTRONG. “They saw an opportunity, so they’re taking it.”

Another challenge lies in the venue’s ongoing green efforts. After New West Presentations took over the lease in 2008 from Sandstone’s former leaseholder Live Nation, big plans were made to make the venue as green as possible. Some of those plans have been implemented in the form of biodegradable corn cups, toilet paper made from recycled material, energy conservation and environmentally-friendly lighting and paint. But Fritz said some of the bigger, higher-dollar plans, like bringing in wind turbines and building a water-reclaiming system, had been stymied indefinitely by the economic recession. Those plans would cost millions of dollars, Fritz said.

“Unfortunately, (those plans are) on hold and we can’t even extend any energy because it would just be a waste of time right now,” he said. “Because we just can’t find the money or the partners to do it, because the money doesn’t exist.”

Fritz said that right now the focus is just on bringing in shows people want to see, while still keeping ticket and concession prices low enough that Sandstone will be able to hold its own among other music venues in the area. And with the majority of concerts being under $40 this summer, Fritz said he is confident these goals will be met — especially given the loyal following Sandstone has acquired over the years.

“You’ve got limited inventory and you’ve got a lot of venues, but I think we have a unique situation,” Fritz said. “People love Sandstone. They enjoy going to concerts there. We’re making it very affordable for them; making it very pleasant. It’s easy to park, we try to keep service charges down, we try to keep our concession prices in line and we’re making a modest profit and just trying to, you know, reinvest in the place very year … It’s very cool. We enjoy doing it.”

To see a full concert calendar and ticket information, go to sandstoneamp.com.

Comments

Curtis Lange 3 years, 6 months ago

If someone gave me the choice today of what venue to watch a concert in, I'd choose Livestrong Sporting Park each time. Sandstone vs Sporting Park is the new Kemper Arena vs Sprint Center debate. And since the Sprint Center is one of the top five concert venues in the WORLD, why would anyone choose Kemper (or Sandstone in my comparison)?

YouPeopleAreCrazy 3 years, 6 months ago

What? Top 5 in the whole world? For whom? Garth Brooks?

Alfred_W 3 years, 6 months ago

Sprint Center is visually compelling from the outside and has nice amenities, but the actual concert experience is really just another large indoor arena - equivalent to the Target Center in Minneapolis.

I'm not sure it's even in the top 5 of venues I've actually been to.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

Headline should be, LJ World writer hopes to learn, about run-on sentences, this summer...

"Sandstone felt the sting, as well, Fritz said, but not as badly as some other venues, bringing in about 25 percent less ticket sales than were hoped for. Still, even though the concert season won’t kick off for another few weeks, Fritz says conditions at the outdoor amphitheater are already improving."

I, was wondering, if perhaps another comma, may be in order, in this sentence.

sulliedotcom 3 years, 6 months ago

If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it at all. Everyone gets it. You're smarter than the writer.

lounger 3 years, 6 months ago

Light times for music in general. I Think venues need to work harder to get a diverse list of entertainers. The ones who are supposed to be the money makers are not bringing the peeps in the way they used to. Maybe taking chances is the only way to survive!

Angel Gillaspie 3 years, 6 months ago

Want to sell more tickets? Lower the ticket prices & eliminate service fees. I think it's a waste to pay more than $50 to see a band. What happened to the $15 concerts? I'd pay $15 to see just about anyone...

David Dunlap 3 years, 6 months ago

Concert goers hope for better acts and lower tickets prices this summer.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 6 months ago

Can't see Sandstone around much longer, with Livestrong Park opening. Starlight has gotten everything this year, and is a great place, but it only holds 7-8K. Sandstone was the only real large outdoor place with seating, until the new place opened.

The Rob Zombie show is only $10 so I can see why that has 7K, shocked 311/Sublime can pull in 10K, and Kings of Leon is a good get, but not much other then that.

matthew2600 3 years, 6 months ago

I think Sandstone and the concert promoters who ruin everything about live music are in a dying industry like Borders. You're advertising a Bob Seger tribute band, a Sublime reunion show with 311 and wonder why the masses aren't flocking in to see your shows.

Music has obviously changed a ton since Lollapalooza era but nobody in the industry seems to have any idea what to do. They want the next big cash cow, not the next amazing performance.

ecrivaindevamp 3 years, 6 months ago

"Major concerts"? Define major. I saw the Civil Wars for $18. Major. Concerts are still an indulgence, but I've definitely had to cut back. No one should have to pay $75 after "service charges" for good seats. I'm looking at you, too, Crossroads. It's not just the Sprint Center. But I did. For the Old 97's and Foo Fighters. Not happily. But I'm hell of excited.

Russell Fryberger 3 years, 6 months ago

With $8.50 beers and super high ticket prices, not to mention the boring soccer games, the Livestrong arena will be a dog park eventually..

Chris Bohling 3 years, 6 months ago

Seeing music at sports arenas always sucks, and Sandstone is almost as bad as seeing it at an arena in terms of sound quality. For all I care they can all go out of business - I'd rather see live music at a real music hall like Liberty Hall or the Uptown Theater anyway.

pizzapete 3 years, 6 months ago

I used to go to see around 4 or 5 big name concerts every Summer. I stopped doing that a few years ago because of the outrageous ticket prices. Who can afford a $75 ticket in this economy?

beatrice 3 years, 6 months ago

"Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Bob Seger and Journey tribute bands will also ..."

Seriously?

If you care for any of these bands, just go buy their cds or maybe a live dvd and forget about this tripe. I can't think of anything anyone should be less interested in than a Journey tribute band. Journey went down hill when they added Steven Perry. Now that he is gone, along with several of the key original performers, Journey is already a cover band for Journey. And a Bob Seger cover band? Isn't that just a guy with a beard who sounds a little like Bob Seger? Can't you see that in just about any coffee house on a Friday night?

beatrice 3 years, 6 months ago

My rule of thumb on ticket prices is this -- never pay more for a concert ticket than it would cost to buy that artist's entire catalogue of cds.

Kontum1972 3 years, 6 months ago

ZAppa on vinyl or cd...is truly a treat....seeing the frankster live was a hoot....glad i saw him 3 times before he passed on....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.