VENUE & FESTIVAL UPDATES (Click on More to view all articles): Miami Arena Gets New Entertainment Director

Mitchell Morales has been named director of entertainment for the Miami Arena. He replaces Mike Carr who moved over to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Morales has more than 10 years of live event and concert experience.

From 1996-98 he was concert director for Madison Square Garden, and also worked for the William Morris Agency in NY and LA, 1991-94.

Prior to accepting the Miami Arena post, Morales was a live event marketing consultant based in New York City.

Morales can be reached at 305-349-4469; e-mail: mmorales@miamiarena.com.

Tacoma Dome Grosses $11.6M in 2002

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Along with the sounds of Bruce Springsteen and Avril Lavigne coming from the Tacoma Dome, there's another: ka-ching.

The Tacoma Dome, the top indoor entertainment venue in the Pacific Northwest by attendance, grossed $11.6 million in concert ticket sales in 2002 through Dec. 20, breaking its previous record of $10.8 million in 2000.

The Dome's share of concert ticket revenue totaled $1.4 million through the end of November, with another $5.1 million from hosting other events such as boat shows and professional wrestling.

"All of us are pleased with the run we have," Mike Combs, Tacoma's director of public assembly facilities, told The News Tribune of Tacoma recently. "We just hope we can maintain that momentum."

Despite the economic slowdown and lower concert attendance across the country, shows ranging from Britney Spears to the Rolling Stones helped boost sales at the dome, which the city of Tacoma owns.

Acts including Guns N' Roses, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, blink-182 and Green Day played at the arena in 2002.

Higher ticket prices played a hand too, with people paying up to $255 for Paul McCartney and $300 for the Rolling Stones, according to a concert trade publication editor.

"The fact that the public repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to pay scalpers five to 10 times face value helped show artists it was OK to charge more," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar.

But "the rate of (ticket) inflation can't keep going, because it's been much faster than the general rate of national inflation," he said.

The Tacoma Dome drew 361,461 from November 2001 through November 2002, more than Portland's Rose Garden, 294,883; Seattle's KeyArena, 153,271; and General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, 141,172, according to Billboard magazine.

Blossom Gets Multimillion Overhaul

Hoping to lure more patrons, Blossom Music Center is undergoing $14.6 million in improvements that includes a redesigned entrance, a new slate roof, landscaping, parking and picnic areas that will look more like a meadow, blending more naturally into the surrounding Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Blossom, built for the Cleveland Orchestra to give it a place to play in the summer, also stages rock and pop concerts produced by the House of Blues.

"Enough people need to come from neighboring states to find out how amazing (Blossom) is, to create a critical mass of opinion that will drive more and more people to make the trip, said Gary Hanson, associate executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra in the Beacon Journal.

"For more and more people to come, there need to be more accommodations. Until more people come, it isn't financially viable to build more accommodations.'"

An average of 5,742 people attended orchestra concerts at Blossom in 2002. Attendances at pop concerts were down a bit from 2001 due to the economy, said David Carlucci, Blossom's general manager.

Cinergy Field To Get Blasted December 29

Cincinnati's 32-year-old Cinergy Field, like its Atlanta and Pittsburgh counterparts, will be a thing of the past following its demolition December 29.

The facility's demolition makes way for the Reds' new, nearly completed $280 million Great American Ball Park right next door. The implosion, using 2,000 pounds of explosives, will take about 37 seconds.

Rolling Rock Music Fest Relocation Negotiations Done

The three-year-old Rolling Rock Town Fair and music festival is definitely moving to Pittsburgh's 65,000-capacity Heinz Field from the Westmoreland Fairgrounds this summer (CelebrityAccess, December 13).

"It will be either July 12 or July 26, but it will happen, God willing," said Heinz Field GM Jimmy Sacco in the Pittsburgh Gazette, who reached a deal with Latrobe Brewing Co.

Sacco has big plans for Heinz Field and is looking to stage more entertainment events. To date, the only other music event confirmed is the Pittsburgh Folk Festival May 23-25.

This year's Rolling Rock talent hasn't been lined up yet, but past headliners were the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2000, its inaugural year; Stone Temple Pilots in 2001 and Godsmack in 2002.

Comstock Music Festival Annouces Acts

COMSTOCK, Neb. (AP) — Five acts have been confirmed for the 2003 Comstock Rock music festival, set for July 18-20 at the Second Wind Ranch north of Comstock.

Steppenwolf, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, Grand Funk Railroad and Little River Band have agreed to perform, festival organizers said this week.

Comstock Rock will be the second music concert at the ranch, which features the world's largest collection of windmills.

The annual Comstock Harvest Festival, which will run June 12-15, will include performances by Sara Evans, the Oak Ridge Boys, Phil Vassar, Chris Cagle, Martina McBride, Sawyer Brown and Gary Allan.

Trump's Son Involved in Club Dispute

It was no laughing matter when the son of real-estate mogul Donald Trump was involved in a dispute at a comedy club.

Donald Trump Jr., 24, was hit in the head with a beer stein early Saturday morning at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village, the New York Post reported, citing law-enforcement sources.

The Post said customers at a neighboring table thought Trump's beer might have splashed on a women. Two men threw steins at Trump, slicing a gash in his head that required 28 stitches to close, the newspaper reported. He was treated at St. Vincent's Hospital and released.

Two men, both 23, were arrested and charged with assault.

The newspaper said no charges were filed against Trump, whose mother is Ivana Trump.

Mural Amphitheater Gets Exclusive Promoter

Steinberg Thrasher Presents and the City of Seattle have a new joint venture: "The Signature Concert Series." Steinberg Thrasher is now the exclusive promoter for the 2,900- capacity (general admission) Mural Amphitheater, located in the center of downtown Seattle, WA, in the middle of the busiest entertainment mecca in the state — mere foot steps from the legendary Space Needle to the South, adjacent to the Experiment of Music and to the north, Key Arena.

Thrasher Steinberg is currently booking this year's series as well as "Summer in the Vineyard Concert Series" at the Secret House Vineyards, in Eugene, OR.

Trapnell Resigns From Guthrie Theater

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Susan Trapnell, managing director of the Guthrie Theater, has resigned after less than a year.

Trapnell said personal reasons prompted her decision to return to Seattle, where she was executive director of the Seattle Arts Commission and managing director of the nonprofit playhouse A Contemporary Theatre when the Guthrie hired her. She started the Guthrie job in February.

Artistic director Joe Dowling praised Trapnell Tuesday for her contributions to the theater.

Trapnell initiated "a new long-term fiscal discipline" at the theater and "has been instrumental in negotiating a final land and parking partnership with the city of Minneapolis" for the planned $125 million Guthrie complex on the Mississippi River, Dowling said.

French architect Jean Nouvel's design for the new Guthrie has been announced, but work was stalled last year when Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed $24 million in state funding.

When Trapnell was hired, Guthrie officials stressed her experience with fund-raising, building projects and public policy. In Seattle, she helped raise $35 million from government, corporate and individual sources that financed A Contemporary Theatre's move into a renovated downtown complex with three theaters.

Her job performance was not in question. "Susan was a fantastic manager, well liked and respected by the entire staff," said Guthrie spokesman James Morrison. He added that there are no immediate plans for replacing her.

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