Last year Entercom Kansas City played the role of villain by refusing to accept Kanrocksas music fest advertising on any of its eight local radio stations. Nor would it help promote Kanrocksas, give away tickets or even mention the event on its airwaves despite that it featured many of the artists Entercom’s Buzz and other stations played and supported on a regular basis.
The reason: Kanrocksas went down in August a scant two weeks before Entercom’s Buzz Beach Ball at Livestrong Sporting Park. And as the promoter of Beach Ball, Entercom stood to lose a lot of money by detouring listeners to the competing fest.
Net result: Kanrocksas flamed out, reportedly with $5 million in losses.
That was then.
The latest: By Entercom’s measure, the shoe is now on the other foot where next year’s recently announced Kanrocksas is concerned with Entercom playing the role of the aggrieved party.
The 2013 Buzz Beach Ball is scheduled for this coming June, again at Livestrong Sporting Park. That places it once again in the collateral damage zone of Kanrocksas, which will return to the nearby Kansas Speedway June 28 and 29.
Meaning that once again Kanrocksas will not be allowed to promote its fest on the local radio station’s most critical to its success.
Here’s how things went down, from Entercom’s perspective:
“There was a meeting recently and we told (Kanrocksas) we would love to work with them and help promote the concert and partner with them,” says a source close to the situation. “IF they could do the concert in August, the same as last time. We were moving Beach Ball to June and then everyone wins. We even told them the date in June we had already committed to in anticipation of Kanrocksas.
“They called back a few days later and arrogantly told us that Beach Ball was a small event and theirs was a ‘music festival’ and that they were going to do Kanrocksas two weeks within the planned Beach Ball date in June. They pretty much told us to (fuck) off because they were bigger. So now we’re back to a lose/ lose situation.”
Naturally, Kanrocksas has a different take.
“I called them,” Kanrocksas main man Bill Brandmeyer stresses. “I took the initiative to allow them to be a part of Kanrocksas. I didn’t put them in a terrible situation, I asked them to be a part of something and they said no. If they go in the second week of June, they’re going up against Bonnaroo and if they do it in the first week of June they’re going up against Wakarusa.
“I feel that both events can have success with early summer dates and I was optimistic that we could work together and I still think we can be partners. I opened the door that would allow them to have ownership, but that’s not the way their organization works.”
As for the conflicting dates, that was not premeditated, Brandmeyer says.
“We didn’t know when Beach Ball was going to be when we decided to move Kanrocksas to the fourth week of June,” he says.
The Buzz feels that they went out of their way to accommodate Kanrocksas next year but feels they were insulted and ignored by Kanrocksas
“Kanrocksas is going up against us in spite of what we told them that we could do and would do to help them,” says the source. “Last year we were pretty much painted as the bully, but the fact of the matter is that even two years ago we had our date reserved long before Chris Fritz booked Kanrocksas and we tried to work together for a win/win situation then. The difference is, last year they were booking bands in conjunction with Lollapalooza in Chicago and had their hands tied. Both of our hands were tied. This year they are not. They could have picked any weekend all summer but chose to knowingly drop in right after the already planned Buzz Beach Ball. So we’re definitely not the bully this time, we’re the ones being bullied. How are we supposed to promote both? They have once again put us in a terrible situation.”
That was not the case, Brandmeyer argues, but at this point, “our dates are pretty solid and it would be a step backwards to move it. We’ve been on sale for (two weeks).”
Nor did Kanrocksas intend to insult Beach Ball by noting the differences in the two event’s size.
“My point with them was I thought the Buzz (festival) was a one day concert and we were trying to paint a picture. But I wasn’t trying to be offensive, I was trying to paint a picture for them that this could be something bigger.”
All of that said, Kanrocksas is extending an olive branch.
“I think (The Buzz) should own one of our says,” Brandmeyer says. “You know, like Saturday is Buzz Beach Ball Day. I’m open to just about anything…That’s what I hope happens – we reach out to them and they try to be collaborative. We had an August date, but it was too hot and we chose to move it to June.”
Which of course, is exactly what the Buzz did with Beach Ball this summer…and next.
And speaking of small worlds, excommunicated Kanrocksas founder Chris Fritz has been wondering if Kanrocksas might have bitten off a bit more than it can chew by moving to June.
Because Kanrocksas will be competing with Beach Ball, Wakarusa and the mighty RockFest.
“They’re just trying to beat the heat, I guess,” Fritz says. “But all the big acts are in Europe in June…So I don’t have any idea (why they’re doing it then).”
Entercom KC head Dave Alpert declined to comment for this story.