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VENUE & FESTIVAL UPDATES (Click on More to view all articles): Exit/In Closes, Owes Sales And Liquor Taxes

Legendary Nashville club Exit/In was closed August 2 by the Tennessee Department of Revenue because of unpaid sales and liquor taxes, the Tennessean reports.

General Manager T.C. Weber, attributing low attendance and lack of public support to its closing, said this had been the hardest summer he had seen in 15 years.

"The touring business is down," Weber said. ''Nashville just does not support live music … as much music that's here, this is a crying shame.''

The 31-year-old club hosted such artists as Jimmy Buffett, Waylon Jennings and Steve Martin.

A club phone recording said it would re-open on August 6; artists are already booked for the week. But Weber said a reopening would depend on whether the taxes were paid.

The weekly Western Beat Roots Revival Concert Series and Radio Show has moved its series to the Blue Sky Court, located at 410 4th Ave. South in Nashville. It is around the corner from the Country Music Hall of Fame and right up the street from the old 328 Performance Hall.

8 X 10 Club Closing

Baltimore's 8 x 10 Club will shutter on August 3. The club's "Farewell Celebration Month" has been
a 12-night party, including The Radiators (August 1),
Baltimore's top blues band The Kelly Bell Band (August 2)
and a grand finale on August 3 starring the Jarflys, featuring Jimi Haha of Baltimore's Jimmie's Chicken Shack and a
host of special guests. The run-up to the last weekend features performances by Baltimore's Lake Trout, George Porter
Jr., Johnny Vidacovich, June Yamagishi, Deep Banana Blackout,
Acoustic Syndicate and Mambo Cambo.

NextStage Entertainment Files Chapter 11

NextStage Entertainment Corp., operator of the new $65 million, 6,350-seat NextStage theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, outside Dallas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 1. Grand Prairie paid $15 million to own the six-month-old facility but it is leased and operated by Houston-based NextStage.

"We think it's going to be good in the long run," City Manager Tom Hart told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The facility has gotten nothing but rave reviews. We are just hoping for good, new management."

City officials have already met with two or more groups interested in taking over the theater's operations.

"We believe this action is in the best interest of all constituencies and that, in the hands of the right operator, NextStage can be a successful operation," stated Michael P. Monaco, the interim CEO of NextStage Entertainment.

Concern about the venue's relatively few bookings since its February debut was raised as early as last week. Concerts and events already booked will proceed as scheduled.

Theaters To Go Dark In Remembrance Of 9/11

In honor of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at least 15
Broadway theaters have canceled performances for the first anniversary of the World Trade Center Twin
Towers attacks. September 11 this year falls on a Wednesday, where there are usually two performances – matinee and evening. Shows that have
decided to not go on that day include "Aida," "Beauty and the Beast," "Chicago,"
"42nd Street," "Frankie and Johnny," "The Graduate," "Into the Woods," "Les
Miserables," "The Lion King," "Mamma Mia!" "Noises Off," "Oklahoma!" "The
Phantom of the Opera," "Rent" and "Urinetown."

Most touring artists are planning to observe the day as well.

Patriots Rename Stadium For Gillette

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have spent months pasting "CMGI" on every sign they could find at their new $325 million stadium.

Now they’ve got 12 days to tear them down.

The Patriots renamed their new home Gillette Stadium on Monday, less than two weeks ahead of its football debut, an Aug. 17 exhibition game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now, instead of getting pitched CMGI cyberproperties like and AltaVista, stadium-goers will be lathered up in the Gillette name. Chief Executive James Kilts said he anticipated the deal would lead to numerous crossover marketing opportunities for the Boston-based company’s razors, toiletries and Duracell batteries.

Terms of the 15-year deal weren’t disclosed, nor would officials say if it was comparable to the 15-year, $114 million deal signed with CMGI in 2000 to name the stadium "CMGI Field."

"This is a three-party agreement that I think has worked in everyone’s best interest," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said during a press conference at midfield.

The team gets a stable partner with deep local roots that will have no trouble paying its bills — CMGI lost $125.2 million last quarter, up from a loss of $988.5 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Gillette gets a steady stream of media hits and an association with the Super Bowl champions. Kilts harkened back to Gillette’s history sponsoring boxing and baseball as a fundamental way it has connected with customers.

And CMGI gets out of a deal many questioned even at the time it was signed two years ago. At the time, CMGI shares traded at around $44. On Monday they closed at 40 cents.

"Right now with the business climate overall we feel our capital is best placed in our core businesses," said Thomas Oberdorf, CMGI’s chief financial officer.

Oberdorf would not give details of the negotiations leading to the name change, but said "the Patriots basically came to us. They had been speaking to Gillette."

CMGI got three months of the New England Revolution’s Major League Soccer from its deal with the stadium, which opened in May. But the only football game ever played under the CMGI banner was the annual pre-season scrimmage between reporters.

The agreement is the latest example of the multibillion dollar stadium naming rights industry following the lead of the stock markets and showing a preference for more stable, traditional companies. The Baltimore Ravens renamed their field Ravens Stadium after its former corporate sponsor, PSINet went bankrupt. Enron Field in Houston became Minute Maid Park.

Dean Bonham, who negotiates naming deals for The Bonham Group, a Denver sports marketing firm, said the Patriots are a hot commodity, and called the deal a good one for all sides, though CMGI could have used the publicity.

"They just won the Super Bowl," he said of the Patriots. "They’re moving into a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility, they’re clearly going to be in that community for the next 25 or 30 years, So the timing couldn’t be better."

Gillette shares closed on Monday down $1.06, to $31.54 a share.

Kraft unveiled a new Gillette banner above the stadium Monday and the company’s logo had already been painted at midfield. But he couldn’t say how long it would take to change all the signs — including a string on nearby highways pointing the way to "CMGI Field."

Jonathan Cloward Named To Top Post At Fox Theatre

Jonathan Cloward is the new executive director of the Fox Theatre in Saline, KS.
He was senior production manager for the opening and closing
ceremonies of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics and was responsible
for overseeing recruitment, rehearsals and management of more than 5,000
cast members for the ceremonies. Previously, he was promotions director for
three radio stations owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting in the Salt Lake City region.

Chicago Orchestra Director Leaving

CHICAGO (AP) – The administrative leader of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has announced he's leaving.

Henry Fogel, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the orchestra's executive director, said Monday he'll retire from his position at the end of the 2002-03 concert season.

The 59-year-old said he's giving up the top administrative post because he wants to get out from under the pressures of running a leading orchestra.

The orchestra had to deal with a deficit because of a poor national economy and overly optimistic budget projections.

“It's a 70- to 80-hour-a-week job, and I find I don't have the energy I had when I was 40 or 50,'' Fogel said. “I will have been here 18 years by the end of next season, which is a very long time in this profession. Yes, there was pressure from within – pressure that I stay.''

During his tenure, Fogel lead the expansion and renovation of the new Symphony Center complex that opened in 1997, and the hiring of Daniel Barenboim as musical director.

“Henry is one of the most widely admired orchestra managers in the nation, not only for his work in Chicago, but also for his commitment to the field,'' said Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Barenboim, in a prepared statement, called Fogel a "rare combination of a passionate and knowledgeable music lover and astute administrator.''

"To have both in the same person is not only valuable but also unusual,'' Barenboim said.

Stadium Lifts Seating Ban for Bruce

CINCINNATI (AP) — A ban on the festival-seating arrangement that contributed to a fatal 1979 stampede at a Cincinnati arena will be lifted for a Bruce Springsteen concert this fall, officials said.

Springsteen requested that the city reinstate general-admission seating for his Nov. 12 concert at U.S. Bank Arena. Managers of the venue said they were eager to try it anyway to compete with arenas in other cities that allow the arrangement for top acts.

Eleven people were trampled to death Dec. 3, 1979, when fans rushed the doors at the arena — then known as Riverfront Coliseum — for a concert by The Who. Cincinnati later banned festival seating, allowing reserved seats only, and implemented new crowd control measures.

Cincinnati police gave permission for the variance at the Springsteen concert. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

"They're not a crowd likely to get rowdy and cause trouble," police spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd said. "He draws a generally well-behaved crowd."

General admission floor seating will represent about 1,800 of the arena's 17,200-seat capacity for the concert, with the rest sold as reserved seats, Byrd said.

But the consultant who recommended safety improvements after studying the 1979 stampede opposes lifting the festival-seating ban at the arena where the deaths occurred.

"People all the time forget the lessons of the past," said Paul Wertheimer, a Chicago-based consultant.

Ticket Sales for Broadway Slows

NEW YORK (AP) — Advance ticket sales, a crucial revenue stream for Broadway theaters, have fallen since September 11 in a trend that has some shows closing earlier.

A recent survey by the League of American Theaters and Producers found that 37 percent of theatergoers were buying tickets at least a month in advance, down from the normal 50 percent level.

With a limited advance providing little financial safety, the producers of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Topdog/Underdog" decided to close next Sunday because their two stars are leaving the production.

The successful productions "Contact," "The Full Monty" and "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" also are closing next month, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Tourism experts said advance sales are dropping because New York City is drawing more individual visitors booking shorter, last-minute trips and spending less through discount deals.

Nobody In Particular Presents, Gothic Theater Enter Co-Booking Agreement

Denver-based independent concert promoter Nobody In Particular Presents and the Gothic Theater have entered into an agreement in which both entities will share booking responsibilities for the Ogden Theatre, Bluebird Theater and Gothic Theater. The arrangement is non-exclusive, and no changes will be made in the booking policies with other promoters.

"This arrangement will allow our venues to share some of the same staffing as well as coordinate booking schedules, while realizing other economies of scale that should help lower the cost of going to shows for our patrons," says NIPP's Jesse Moreale. "Operating smaller venues is not an easy task. As venue owners and independent promoters we are constantly faced with numerous obstacles, and anything we can do to stay competitive is a good thing.

"The Gothic has an amazing history and a great operation, and I think the arrangement will help increase the quality of the concert experience at all three venues."

Steve Schalk, owner of the Gothic Theatre, adds, "We continue to welcome other promoters to come in and use the venue. We enjoy being independent and feel that we have created a diverse and exciting schedule of musical artists because of it. We look forward to continuing and improving the venue and our lineup."