Fans of Southaven’s annual Springfest will need to shell out a little more if they plan to attend the Saturday night concert at the BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove. However, city officials believe it will be worth the extra admission cost and will also help sagging revenues from that part of the annual celebration for the DeSoto County city.
Aldermen Tuesday night approved an amendment to the city’s contract agreement with concert provider Live Nation.
The amendment was a result of the nationally-known provider of concert entertainment approaching the city about putting in a show at the amphitheater during the springtime celebration of Southaven’s incorporation as a city.
“Live Nation requested a night and the fact that we need help to get better entertainment, we felt like it was a good idea to negotiate a deal with them to provide the entertainment on Saturday night,” said Mayor Darren Musselwhite.
Under the agreement, people who come to Springfest on Saturday will need to buy a separate admission for the concert if they choose to attend that in addition to the other activities.
The city in the past has used the Friday and Saturday concerts to help produce revenue to cover the cost of Springfest, but separate admission was not required.
Musselwhite admitted Tuesday that recent concerts during Springfest have not done as well as hoped.
“Over the last 2-3 years we’ve noticed a major decline in attendance at concerts,” Musselwhite said. “It’s taken a lot more money to get a quality act there and also we feel like a lot of people have been accustomed to having a fine concert at the Amphitheater. They’re used to having that through the year.”
The mayor added attendance last year ranged in an area of less than 1,000 each night of the celebration.
With the agreement approved Tuesday night, Live Nation will completely produce the Saturday concert in return for charging the separate admission. Indications are the promoter has already lined up an act which it would announce this weekend or early next week with Tuesday’s board approval.
Live Nation has also said it would assist the city in finding an act for Friday night. It means saving money in stage setup and finding a performer for one of the two nights of Springfest. Musselwhite said it also means additional revenue from Saturday night if the crowds are large.
“What I’ve negotiated with them is a guaranteed $35,000 and they pay all of the expenses regardless of attendance on Saturday night,” said Musselwhite. “If attendance exceeds 5,000 or more, they pay us $50,000. If attendance exceeds 6,000, they’ll pay us $60,000. This could be $190,000 turnaround (compared to past city expenses) for our Springfest operation.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.