Hearne: Steamboat Arabia Puts Kibosh on ‘Buzz Under the Stars’ @ City Market

Talk about buzzkills…

In one of the more oblique press releases ever penned, the Kansas City City Market wrote late yesterday:

"The City Market is interested in the success of our tenants thus does not anticipate booking a 2012 concert series as a response to a concern from the Steamboat Arabia Museum that concerts have and continue to put their artifacts at risk. Investigation of this matter is a priority at this time.

"The past five years the City Market has partnered with AEG Live and Entercom Radio for the “Buzz Under the StarsConcert Series hosting artists such as Mumford & Sons, The Killers, Incubus, Death Cab for Cutie and Offspring. This great partnership has brought more than 120,000 music enthusiasts to enjoy the atmosphere of concerts with downtown Kansas City, Missouri as its backdrop. We thank you for your patronage."

Talk about carefully-worded- "does not anticipate" – how could it get any vaguer?

"This is not a new thing, this has been going on for years and years," says Steamboat Arabia main man David Hawley. "It’s just gotten worse. You know, the speakers have gotten bigger and bigger and they have to bring them in on big trucks now."

In the early days of City market shows, a stage one fourth the size of the ones in use in recent years backed directly up Hawley’s museum.

"Then they moved it around 1998 or 1999," Hawley says. "As I’ve told people, if you can hear them, we can work around that, but if you can feel them, then we have a problem. But they (say they) need the sound pressure levels to drive the intensity. Last October is when the concrete fell out of our ceiling."

That was at the Death Cab for Cutie concert.

"They had a good time," Hawley says. "Although they didn’t have too many people. Some of the shows have had as many as nine or ten-thousand people.

"But you know, the sound engineers cater to the bands and when the band says, ‘Crank it up,’ they do – that’s their job. And our job is to protect what we do. And (the City Market) said, ‘Well Dave, let’s just insure it for you.’ But accepting insurance, for us to agree to that is like saying, ‘It’s okay to break things as long as we get paid for them.’ And that’s notm our position. We’re not a big organization supported by a big foundation or anything – it’s just us and the people who come to see us."

And hey, how do you insure the Mona Lisa?

When it’s gone, it’s gone – some things just can’t be replaced by a pile of cash.

"You know if we were the Nelson, we wouldn’t be having this discussion," Hawley says. "Somebody wouldn’t be glueing down the Chinese dishwhere, the concerts would stop."

Contrary to rumors, Hawley and the museum has not taken legal action against the City Market over the dispute.

"We told them we would hire an attorney to protect the collection if we have to," Hawley says. "They told me on Good Friday, they’ve got to get this done by that day or Monday and I told them if we have to, I would lawyer up. And I told them that a month ago. I can’t have things breaking here and if I have to I would lawyer up.

"They sent some engineers over here last November and again two weeks ao, but we’ve not seen that report yet."

Hawley things the City Market has more than enough fair warning and time to move the event to a city-owned park just to the east or to Richard Berkley Park on the river where the Irish almost drowned a handful of years back.

"You know, if you want to do it,then jump in and do iit," Hawley says. "There’s nother easy about digging up steamboats either, but you can’t expect a business like ours to be okay with havng your things damaged and broken just so they can do a few concerts."

Hawley as almost last to learn his landlord was poised to cancel the concert series, after City Market sent out a press release yesterday in the middle of the local 6 p.m. news.

"I didn’t hear about it until I got a call from Channel 9 News that they had called the season," he says. "I didn’t get the email because they’re upset with me."

And Hawley feels bad for other City market businesses that will miss out on some selling opportunities.

"I know and I feel bad about that," he says. "But I don’t think they would want to see us lose our collection."

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10 Responses to Hearne: Steamboat Arabia Puts Kibosh on ‘Buzz Under the Stars’ @ City Market

  1. Bob Loblaw says:

    …Because the City Market is the WORST venue for a concert of any sort in the city, bar none. Absolutely awful.

    Also, complete BS about loud sound levels causing concrete to fall from their ceiling. But if people are actually buying this excuse and it gets them to move the concerts elsewhere, then all the better.

  2. the dude says:

    City Market was a crappy venue for concerts of this size anyway.

  3. Disagree says:

    I’ve been to propably about half the shows at the River Market over the years. Was it the best sound/accoustics? No. Was it an incredible backdrop and fun place to see a show. Absolutely. I for one will miss seeing Summer concerts at this venue. You guys probably hate Crossroads at Grinders too.

  4. The Commenters. says:

    We hate everything.

  5. Hearne says:

    Well, to put things in perspective…
    Even Tim Finn, the Star’s music reviewer has decried City Market as one, if not the worst venues to see a concert in. Questionable sound. A buncha messed up pavement and curbs to trip around on in the boiling hot heat.

    Crossroads has great sound and is an excellent live venue unless you’re allergic to mulch and get clausaphobia in porta-potties.

    They did improve things when they moved the stage though.

  6. Smartman says:

    Shake, rattle and roll
    Bob, I’d love to come to your house with my 18″ subwoofers, 5000 watt mono bridge amp and tone generator and demonstrate the damage capabilities of subsonic frequencies on residential construction.

  7. PB says:

    Don’t Care
    As said, an awful venue that I had pretty much outgrown anyway. KC won’t miss those shows, acts will just play elsewhere. Having said that, had many a good time there over the years seeing everyone from Widespread Panic to 311 to Incubus (my last show there)as well as some smaller shows with stellar acts like Alejandro Escovedo, Billygoat, Jimmy Thackery, Joe Bonnamossa and Chubby Carrier. Acoustically speaking and sightline-wise the place was definitely lacking, but the party vibe was hard to match at any other venue. I can’t say as I’ll really miss the place as a concert venue, but I will miss what it represented, just fun gathering spot for some decent live music.

  8. Wendy says:

    Richard Berkley Park is a better spot anyway.

  9. Bob says:

    Please stay far, far, far away from my house. OK?

  10. James Gallo says:

    It’s time for a new venue
    The popularity, success and growth oft the BUTS concert series definitely outgrew the capabilities of a poor concert venue with lousy acoustics, poor line-view, no seating and standing for hours while stumbling over curbs and and storm drains..I think the series would be much better on the underutilized Riverfront Front where more tickets could be sold drawing bigger crowds. Also people could spread out and lie blankets and lawn chairs and relax and enjoy the show on the lawn without twisting and ankle or being smothered to death on a hot asphalt parking lot. This is a no brainer!

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