ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Supporters of a plan to bring major outdoor concerts to downtown are hoping changes in the legislation will ease the fears of opponents, including many local musicians.
The bill’s sponsor, Alderwoman Phyllis Young, says the latest version of the bill would only prohibit rival summer concerts downtown that sell more than 30,000 tickets, have a budget over $8 million and feature more than five musical acts. Already existing music events such as the Blues festival would be “grand-fathered” in, Young said.
“The musicians are understanding there will be places for them to participate in this event,” Young said, “So, no one is going to be shut out, and we will showcase local talent as well as national.”
The plan to bring major outdoor concerts on Memorial and Labor Day weekends also caused some Stanley Cup jitters with hockey fans, because the venue includes Market Street near the Scott Trade Center.
Under the latest version of the bill, if the Blues are still skating by Memorial Day, Market Street would have to stay open to traffic.
“If the Blues are in the Stanley Cup,” said co-sponsoring Alderwoman Lyda Krewson , “then Market Street would no longer be in the festival area. So, it would get figured out to accommodate that.”
A long list of musicians signed up to speak at the hearing on the bill, including John May, Chairman of the St. Louis Blues Society.
“This is a jazz and blues, and rhythm and blues town, without a doubt,” May said, “and what are they bringing in? Rock, Pop and Country, and just completely ignoring all the efforts that a lot of people have put into this city over a lot of years.”
Debate was continuing over the fine print of the plan, including concerns about a “city hall liaison ” from the Mayor’s office, who some musicians feared could make further changes to the rules in the future without the approval of aldermen.
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