The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 20, 2012

Class acts: Summer concerts will raise recovery funds

JOPLIN, Mo. — After a frustrating period of hearing from “big talkers,” officials at Downstream Casino have figured out how to host fundraising concerts for tornado recovery. The casino announced that every show as part of its 2012 Summer Concert Series will raise funds.

The lineup was announced Wednesday, and features legendary and current country and rock acts. It includes concerts by Montgomery Gentry, Randy Travis, Kellie Pickler, Chicago, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie Dunn and Boston.

With every ticket sold, $5 will be donated to the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund.

“Frankly, it’s been bewildering and bizarre trying to put something together with outside entities,” said Chairman John Berrey said in a press release. “We finally decided that we could just donate part of our ticket sales from our regular concert series, and save ourselves a lot of brain damage.”

The total donation is expected to be anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000 Ñ an amount similar to what Downstream would have spent being a venue sponsor for such a show, said Sean Harrison, public relations manager.

Similar acts have been rumored and planned, Harrison said, but details could never be worked out.

Downstream was mentioned as a possible site for a fundraising concert known as the Stand with Joplin Music Festival. Promoted by Nixa-based 417 Productions, the festival had initially advertised two days of music with appearances by Sheryl Crow and Bret Michaels.

However, contractual agreements were never confirmed between the artists and the festival. Officials with the festival announced it would be held at Downstream, but the casino backed out early in the process. The event was then moved to Joplin’s Landreth Park, but plans fell through once again.

Downstream sponsored a fundraising concert three weeks after the tornado struck on May 22 featuring the Cate Brothers Band.

Harrison said that the casino has been approached by many representatives who promise top-name talent, but required too much in initial investments.

“There was one instance where a promoter said he had a big name for a concert,” Harrison said. “All we had to do was wire $30,000 out to cover expenses. I thought, ‘Really? We’re the ones that got hit by the tornado. You want to help us, but you want us to wire you money?’”

Harrison said that the fundraising idea for this season wouldn’t have worked last season, because ticket prices had already been established in contracts. This way, area residents can participate in the fundraising for recovery, he said.

“From the beginning, we always said to the big-talkers that if they want to bring a show, we have a venue. We can be a venue sponsor,” Harrison said. “Big performers get asked for things like this all the time, but there are layers of bureaucracy that hornswaggle these deals.”

Lineup

Downstream Casino will feature the following acts for the 2012 Summer Concert Series:

  • Montgomery Gentry, June 17.
  • Randy Travis and Kellie Pickler, July 3.
  • Chicago, July 19.
  • Hank Williams Jr., Aug. 3.
  • Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn), Aug. 24.
  • Boston, Sept. 6.

Details: 888-396-7876.

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