ATLANTA (CelebrityAccess) Georgia’s Fulton County has quietly ended a 10-year contract with Live Nation, after just three years, to run Wolf Creek Amphitheater in College Park, near Atlanta, and will revert it back to a simple, open rental space.
The agreement was signed in 2017 to bring greater economic development to the South Fulton area, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fulton reportedly paid a $110,000 termination fee and will now rent out the 5,300-capacity shed for concerts and other events to anyone who wants to use it.
The Live Nation deal was expected to bring in between $800,000 and $1 million annually but the county got just $125,000 over the past two years, according to the AJC. Live Nation received $1.125 million over the term of the contract, which ended Jan. 23.
The blame doesn’t appear to be leveled directly at Live Nation, with Fulton County Manager Dick Anderson telling the paper that he couldn’t see a larger profit unless the county invested $3 million to update the venue, including converting some of the lawn to seats and upgrading the stage.
“It would’ve been a very significant investment,” Anderson said. “It would truly have been putting public money at risk for an unsure investment.”
Plus, according to Anderson, residents who protested the original agreement not only complained about higher ticket prices but that Live Nation was recruiting national touring acts. The county used to bring in nostalgia acts like Doug. E. Fresh and Keith Sweat, and Live Nation brought in acts like Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige and a music festival with Big Boi, Goodie Mob, and others. Anderson said that the nostalgia acts were often sell-outs while ticket sales under Live Nation were frequently closer to 70 percent.
Live Nation declined to comment.
The original contract was motivated by a local controversy when a 2016 audit found that Wolf Creek had committed more than two dozen violations of county policy including preferential treatment of vendors and a practice of providing complimentary tickets to thousands more people than was allowed, which overcrowded the facility. The county brought in Live Nation and fired the employees, which led to litigation that is still ongoing, according to the AJC.
Anderson said at the time that local government didn’t belong in the entertainment business. With the termination of the contract, Anderson said plans for the venue are “more modest” than in 2017 and the county will be renting out the facility for $25,000 for a 24-hour period if county commissioners approve a proposal later this month. The proposal includes a $15 fee on each ticket that would go to the county to maintain the venue, according to the AJC.
Atlanta, the state capital, is the seat of Fulton County, which is the state’s most populated county.