THE SHOW WILL GO ON: LIVE NATION ENDS OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP WITH MADISON MARQUETTE

Live Nation will not be renewing its agreement with Madison Marquette as the exclusive promoter to secure live entertainment for Convention Hall, the Paramount Theatre and the Stone Pony, when the original agreement expires at the end of this year.

“We envision possibly at times doing shows in Asbury Park but there will not be a formalized agreement – that will end,” said Jim Steen, vice president of marketing, Live Nation.  “Live Nation feels this is best for both our business partners and the city.  Our decision is in the best interest for the future success of all parties.”

For three years Live Nation, the nation’s largest live entertainment company in the world, has been securing talent for the largest venues in the city, in an effort to infuse a high-profile live music scene and attract visitors and tourism dollars.  Performers the company has secured for the waterfront have included The Pretenders, Peter Frampton, Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, Tom Jones, Hall & Oates, Lisa Marie Pressley, Billy Idol and also Medium John Edwards and DJ Tiesto.

As of presstime, Madison Marquette denied the partnership was not being renewed and declined to discuss further.  “There is no agreement to sever ties at the end of this year,” said Pasqualina Delucia, the real estate firm’s director of marketing, said in a statement.

Live Nation is not severing ties with Madison Marquette, however it will not formally guarantee any future partnership.

In April of 2008, the partnership between the two companies was touted like two headliners joining together on stage – with an inaugural performance by Lou Reed – however as the economy soured, critics complained the 1,600 capacity Paramount Theatre, 3,600 capacity Convention Hall and 850 capacity Stone Pony were not regularly seeing the headlining talent expected.

Well known, high-level executive conflicts between the two organizations added to the struggles.

“I haven’t been to one show from Live Nation,” said Jim Hessemer, of Tinton Falls.  “I see the crowds outside the Stone Pony during the summer but none of that music interests me.”

Sources close to the partnership detailed that the greater Monmouth County area is a difficult region to grow an entertainment venue in right now, citing a number of established competing venues and theaters as options including the Strand, Starland Ballroom, Count Basie and PNC Bank Arts Center.

“The pie is split too many ways,” said a source.  “Three out of four people who come to Asbury Park for a performance come from Monmouth or the immediately surrounding counties.  These numbers do not work for an entertainment business where the margins are so small to begin with.”

What remains in question now is how much Madison Marquette will be forced to rely on independent producers, in-house contacts and rentals to supply entertainment options, keep the venues filled and tourism numbers growing.

“Each year we have seen great, increased interest in booking the boardwalk venues and we expect 2011 to be a big year for shows, festivals and other large events,” said Delucia.

Editorialized Color Commentary:  For two days, TheBPlot requested to speak with Gary Mottola directly about this story.  Instead, Gary chose to test his heroic vocal chords yelling at everyone he could and making sure he was all up in Springsteen’s music video.  Gary is the first one to take the limelight when there is something to take credit for.

The intention of this piece was to demonstrate that Madison Marquette is proactive when met with change and inform you about what Plan B was post-Live Nation.  I wanted to offer some exciting hope.  Instead, after a number of prompts, Gary chose to tantrum at everyone around him and via phone and obsess over who my multiple sources were for this story.  I have nothing against Gary and I respect him for his team’s achievements but, after this reporting experience, question him as a leader and a sometimes bully.

Richard@TheBPlot.com

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