Hearne: Olive Branch Alert; Warring Festivals Render Buzz Beach Ball a Beach Bust

About Friday’s Buzz Beach Ball at Livestrong Sporting Park in KCK…

Sources say the concert was a stiff, likely losing in the neighborhood of a quarter million bucks. Which comes on the heels of reportedly seven-figure losses the promoters of Kanrocksas, suffered 12 days earlier. (By the way, word on the street is Kanrocksas may  return next year. The idea being that most big fests don’t break into the black until the second or third year.)

But face it, it’s been a long, ridiculously hot summer and entertainment times have been tough. With some exceptions, Arrowhead and Farm Aid to name two.

According to freelancer / blogger Noah Homola – who reviewed Beach Ball for the Star – there may have been, at its peak, 10,000 people at Livestrong for Incubus. In other words, half a house. 

(By the way, Homola did a nice job covering the fest. Not to mention bringing a 30-year-old’s perspective to the review party rather than the newspaper’s usual 50s and up suspects.)

Now here’s what the entertainment community is saying about the red ink churned up at Beach Ball and Kanrocksas…

That the Buzz blew it by playing hardball and not accepting ad dollars from Kanrocksas to promote its event.

The station feared Kanrocksas would hurt attendance at Beach Ball. And clearly, not being able to remind Buzz listeners about the artists playing Kanrocksas did hurt. Because The Buzz is Kansas City’s alternative music radio station of record and plays many, if not most, of the key artists that played Kanrocksas.

Again, the idea being that if locals blew their concert dollars on Kanrocksas – which had a larger, far superior lineup – they’d be less likely to pony up 12 days later for Beach Ball’s comparatively over-the-hill lineup.

In the end, The Buzz’s bad karma came back to bite them.

What should have happened, entertainment experts agree, is The Buzz should have worked with Kanrocksas.

"I think Beach Ball screwed up majorly this year," says one promoter not involved in either event. "They should have been best friends with Kanrocksas and teamed up to make both shows successful. They only had half a house anyway and they probably gave half of those away."

"The Buzz hurt themselves," adds another source. "There’s really no need to be at odds with anybody else in this market. Unless you’re desperate."

As evidenced by The Buzz’s last minute promotion to give away Sporting Kansas City soccer tickets to Beach Ball buyers.

And for the record, my experts pegged Beach Ball’s crowd count at closer to 7,500 – not 10,000 – with maybe 4,500 sticking it out for Jane’s Addiction.

Now, back to Rodney King – and with luck – the lesson hopefully learned from these two battling festivals.

Why not try and get along?

Take the ad bucks and cross promote. Work together. After all, we’re talking about "artists" and music here, right?

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19 Responses to Hearne: Olive Branch Alert; Warring Festivals Render Buzz Beach Ball a Beach Bust

  1. smartman says:

    Bad Idea Bad Execution. Both Kanrocksas and Beach Buzz had SHIT TALENT. Muse, Eminem and Jane’s Addiction are sliders. BRING SOME REAL MEAT! U2, Foo Fighters or the Metalica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth Big Four package.

    Consumer money or cash flow are NOT the problem in this market.

    Both “festivals” suffered from a lack of “authenticity”. Not rootsy or street enough. Too phony too corporate, too vanilla, too contrived. Particularly Bill Brandmeyer try to channel Bill Graham and come off as some music genius. Just another idiot with more of daddy’s money than brains.

    No amount of peace, love and understanding between The Buzz and Kanrocksas would have made a bit of difference. They were both destined for failure for one reason and one reason only. SHIT TALENT.

    The shitkickers got it right. Kenny Chesney packed them sumbitches in Camarohead and made serious bank.

    There’s a reason they say a fool and his money are soon parted.

  2. are you serious smartman? says:

    Because I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING at your Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth lineup. That’s what’s known as an “oil slick concert,” because there are so many dinosaurs.

    Muse is like soccer in the United States: not so popular here but popular everywhere else.

    And calling Eminem a “shit talent” equally laughable.

    I realize music is personal preference, but maybe you shouldn’t talk about things you clearly have no knowledge about.

  3. neil turbin says:

    he’s right about the BIG FOUR lineup if you’re talking about putting on a show that will bring the people and make money.

    popular everywhere else doesn’t mean its a smart business decision to expect MUSE to draw 75-100K people in KANSAS. like soccer, david hasselhof is popular everywhere else too…

  4. richardcranium says:

    This may be the first actual piece of reporting that has “sources” that aren’t Nigro or the fat Glazer. Most interesting thing I’ve read in weeks on this site.

  5. Saw that one coming says:

    …but Smartman is wrong
    You’re talking about heavy metal bands and these were ‘alternative’ music festivals. I don’t think having Incubus helped Beach Ball. I like the band but they have played here so many times over the years. I wonder too if it’s hurt the BUZZ partnering up with INK. When they chose a print media partner it seems like they picked a paper that is more geared to the 93.3 crowd.

  6. Skeptic says:

    Olive Branch?
    I was hoping you had an olive branch for Tracy Thomas. heh

  7. smartman says:

    Desperate but not Sirius
    Hell yeah I’m SERIOUS. Witnessed by the low attendance at both events it’s clear that the talent wasn’t up to the task. Muse and Eminem are better suited to be one off shows at Sandstone or SC. Janes Addiction belonged at the Midland.

    The promoters stated goal for Kanrocksas was 40,000 to 50,000 PER DAY. The lineups which are supposed to be fueled by the headliners were SHIT aka mediocre.

    Bonnaroo, Coachella and even Lolapalooza all focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY.

    The handle on my Ginsu is edgier than any of these lineups.

    Great ideas don’t make great business plans.

    Kenny “Hillbilly Rockstar out of Control” Chesney packed more people into Arrowhead than Kanrocksas and Beach Buzz combined.

    What’s that tell you about which promoters and marketers UNDERSTAND what the market wants, needs and will support?

    I’m also pretty certain that the big four metal dinosaurs coulda put 100,000 people at the Speedway.

  8. smartman says:

    Forgot to mention
    It was called KanROCKsas, not KanALTERNATIVEsas or KanRAPsas.

    Like it or not Metal and Country pretty much own this market. Hard Rock and Classic Rock are certainly in play as well.

    If you wanna do a BLOW OUT Mega Festival that’ll put butts in seats, sell lot’s of beer, brats and merch I’d suggest those genre’s as a good starting point.

    If you asked most people in KC who The Three Tenor’s are they’d say Ron Jeremy, Peter North and Tony Tedeshi

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    Uh, thanks

  10. Hearne Christopher says:

    I thought the lineup was respectable. Foo Fighters woulda been stronger than Muse although I heard it was a great show. If not a great draw.

    One of the biggest complaints was the ticket price. Too close to Lollapalooza and just too high for this lineup, this event, this economy.

  11. Hearne Christopher says:

    Nobody wants to hammer anybody for trying to do something big, important, hip and cool. Like Kanrocksas.

    But allow me to remind that when I interviewed the promoter on the day it was announced he said, “We’re only putting out 80,000 tickets now…”

    They maybe had 30,000 on Saturday for Eminem. But that’s well under half what had been hoped for.

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    Of course I do. heh

  13. Math says:

    Do the numbers
    You guys didn’t do the math. Let’s take a quick look using your numbers. Say 6000( low estimate) people paid 45 bucks a ticket that’s 270k income. Now ad 5 bucks a head (low estimate) for water or beer whatever that’s 1.35 M the promoter for beach ball at the very least made some money. Double or even triple those figures for Kanrocksas and they still lose money. The promoter for beach ball went with a smaller budget and walked away ok. Better business plan. Shitty line up- better plan.

  14. neil turbin says:

    that is some funky math there…

  15. Craig Glazer says:

    Hey Rich, If You looked Like Me You’d Get Laid
    Uh, saying I’m fat is like saying Megan Fox is ugly and creepy! Unless you meant Phat. OK. I am sure my body makes you look like Olive Oil or Baby Hughie/fat duck…as far as my comments on the concert it was 100% true as al the other writers repeated my same postion. Thank you playing ” I am a stupid moron game ” you win, you are a moron. Richard whoever.

  16. Hearne Christopher says:

    Interesting point.

    Hard to do the math without knowing the numbers. I talked to promoters who do know these kinds of numbers and this was their thinking. Their doing of the math, if you will.

  17. Skeptic says:

    Glazer, you only appear fat because your skin is so thin. Oh, and Megan Fox has VERY creepy thumbs.

  18. BlackJack says:

    smartman not so smart..
    “The promoters stated goal for Kanrocksas was 40,000 to 50,000 PER DAY. The lineups which are supposed to be fueled by the headliners were SHIT aka mediocre.

    Bonnaroo, Coachella and even Lolapalooza all focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY”

    Umm, HELLO McFLY, I mean, “smartman”. You don’t read much, do you? Who do you think was playing at Lolapalooza, Coachella, Bonarroo, etc??? Eminem, Muse, Black Keys, Flaming Lips, et al. If you had followed along you would realize that all these same bands cross-headline all these same summer music festvals. That’s why the events are all held around the same timeframe in the summer.

    The lineup was stellar; the low attendance had more to do with the high ticket $$, the venue, ungodly hot temperatures, etc,

  19. Math says:

    Numbers don’t lie
    Still, none of your numbers make sense. Who are these promoters you are talking with? I see how if entercom would have supported Kanrocksas it would have helped Kanrocksas but how would that have helped beach ball?

    There is no way beach ball had 800k invested in talent total. That just paid for Muse for Kanrocksas. Beach ball made money all in. Kanrocksas got crushed.

    With the better line up Kanrocksas has a chance to build on their show for next year but they better figure out a way to get 96.5 involved.

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