The inside story on River's Edge
Sorry, Taste of Minnesota, but this summer's inaugural River's Edge Music Festival will be the most ambitious music festival on St. Paul's Harriet Island since Riverfest's six-year run ended in 1990.
Not only will Live Nation spend nearly $2 million on production for the four-stage event June 23-24 but almost as much on talent. Dave Matthews Band and Tool command big paychecks, especially when the latter is bringing its full-on production with a giant video wall for what Live Nation says is its only U.S. concert this year.
Live Nation has signed a minimum five-year deal with the city of St. Paul to produce River's Edge. Next year will feature a three-day rock event (with an electronica component) and a country festival on the following weekend.
Because it took considerable time to get River's Edge greenlighted from St. Paul, promoters got a late start (in December) booking bands, said Live Nation booker Tommy Ginoza. He inquired about a wide range of names, including Prince and Jay-Z.
Ginoza said his mantra was booking "great live performers" regardless of genre. Hence, he ended up with club favorites like Mutemath, Kinky and Scissor Sisters that he knows can deliver live.
Other performers on the bill include the Flaming Lips, Puscifer, Coheed and Cambria, Diplo, Brand New, Delta Spirit, Mexican Institute of Sound, Gardens & Villa, Kids These Days, K-flay, An Horse, Yuna and Civil Twilight, and Minnesota bands Poliça, Motion City Soundtrack, Quietdrive and the Rope.
In keeping with Live Nation's approach of so-called dynamic ticket pricing (changing prices based on supply and demand), two-day tickets will cost $99 for the first week and then $110 the next week, with two more price increases to come. If tickets are still available, single-day tickets will go on sale for about $75 this spring.
The real ticket price should have been $120, said Mark Campana, Live Nation co-president for North America concerts. But his approach for this new event is to offer a reduced early-buy price as incentive. Whatever the price, Campana said: "We'll lose a considerable amount of money in the first year." He thinks 40,000 is the capacity for Harriet Island but "we'll call an audible" as the festival proceeds.
Other Live Nation measures include:
- Allowing festgoers to go in and out of the grounds (thanks to wristbands with radio-frequency chips in them).
- Allowing each festgoer to carry in two sealed bottles of water.
- Allowing festgoers to bring in empty water containers that can be filled for free on the festival grounds.
- Alternating bands on the main and secondary stages to avoid sound competition. (Music will run from 1 to 10 p.m.)
- Setting up large video screens on both sides of the main stage and on the sound/light mixing booth in the middle of the crowd.
As part of Live Nation's agreement with St. Paul, it will help underwrite July 4th fireworks on Harriet Island for at least five years.
- Jon Bream
Jane's Addiction goes to SoundTown
The second annual SoundTown Music and Camping Festival is growing up. The festival returns to Somerset, Wis., July 27-28. Headliners include Jane's Addiction (fresh off the botched opening night at the Brick), Weezer and Florence + the Machine. Other highlights include dance-sampler Girl Talk, rapper Common and neo-soul man Mayer Hawthorne, alongside indie-rock favorites Best Coast, Andrew Bird, Gomez and Dr. Dog. Among the local acts: Pert Near Sandstone, the 4ontheFloor, Joey Ryan & the Inks and MaLLy. Vita.mn is offering discounted pre-sale tickets when you use the code VITAMNSOUND through April 27 at www.soundtownfest.com/tickets.
- Jay Boller