Summer concerts sell out fast
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2013 9:50PM
Mick Jones of Foreigner
Updated: June 6, 2013 6:13AM
Think the Triple Play Summer Concert Series in New Lenox is popular?
Some of the 5,000 tickets to the annual concerts were to go on sale to the general public May 1, but village residents bought all of them beforehand, Mayor Tim Baldermann said.
It’s the first time that all tickets were sold to residents, who get first crack at them. Typically, they purchase about 80 percent of the tickets.
“We sold out in three weeks and three days. The people love this event,” Baldermann said. “Some nonresidents have called and complained that it was not fair. This is for our people. We have to give our residents the first opportunity.”
This year’s concert series in the Commons will feature Bad Company on June 29, Rick Springfield on July 20 and Foreigner on Aug. 31. One $50 ticket provides admission to all three shows.
Baldermann speculated that the quick sellout this year may be credited to Bad Company because the concert is the band’s only appearance in the Chicago area this summer.
The Triple Play has sold out in the last three of its five seasons and overall has earned a profit of $127,900 for New Lenox, with another $31,900 given to local organizations that help out at each concert, according to Baldermann’s figures.
When the concert series was initiated in 2009, the mayor’s goal was to provide low-cost entertainment for residents and raise money to provide other free events in the Commons, such as Wednesday night movies and Sunday night concerts.
In all but one year, 2010, the concert series has turned a profit based on tickets, beer sales and sponsors. Expenses include not only the bands — fees steadily have increased from $110,500 to $215,500 as the village seeks bigger names — but also lighting, labor, equipment and supplies.
Sponsors have kicked in between $42,780 and $85,100 and usually are local businesses that do business with the village, the mayor said.
“I do not accept campaign contributions from anyone doing business with the village. Instead, they give the money to this event,” Baldermann said.
He said the first two years, 2009 and 2010, were a “learning curve” and did not sell out. The first event — which featured the Gin Blossoms, Blues Traveler and Peter Frampton for a $35 ticket — netted $6,133.
The second year, the village brought in two bands for each of the three shows — Smithereens and Soul Asylum, Fastball and Survivor, and Blue Oyster Cult and Kansas — for a total of $130,450. The ticket price was upped to $50, but the village lost nearly $39,000 on that Triple Play.
Baldermann said he revamped the formula for 2010 to feature three big bands while keeping the ticket at $50. It has proven to be a winning formula.
In 2011, the sold-out event featured Starship with Mickey Thomas, REO and Cheap Trick, and the town realized a $157,005 profit. Revenue included $85,000 in sponsorships and another $85,000 in weather insurance because rain prevented two local bands from performing prior to REO, which was able to do its full show.
Profits from last year’s concerts dropped to $3,804. Band and ticket sales reached their highest mark, but so did the cost of the bands — a total of $215,500 for Night Ranger, Heart and Styx.
This year, the village spent $240,000 for Bad Company, Rick Springfield and Foreigner.