Bader Field will host an electronic dance music festival on New Years Eve — so long as it gets support from Atlantic City Council and contract negotiations proceed as expected, the concert promoter confirmed Monday.
Bobby Laws, promoter for Miami-based SFX Entertainment, said he plans to set up a heated tent for the event. Temperatures typically dip to 25 degrees on New Years Eve in the resort, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
“It’s basically a dance party,” Laws said. “It’s not like Bon Jovi is going to be there. It’s not something like that, it’s a tented event.”
SFX’s 30-city tour of similar events hasn’t included Atlantic City in the past, Laws said.
But Bader Field’s growing prominence as a venue and the resort’s long-established reputation as a New Years Eve destination piqued the company’s interest, Laws said.
“Having acts like Phish, Dave Matthews and Metallica has put AC on the map,” he said. “We’re the first ones to do something (at Bader Field) in the wintertime, so this is something new altogether. But if it works, it’s something we’ll do constantly.”
Laws declined to name confirmed acts or provide other details about the pending deal. He expects to reveal more after contract talks conclude, likely on Friday.
Generally supportive of Bader Field events, 6th Ward Councilman Tim Mancuso said he wants to learn more about the latest proposal for the 143-acre former municipal airport.
“We want to promote Bader Field, but we also want to make sure it’s the right kind of concert — nothing too rowdy,” Mancuso said.
City Council will consider the matter at its next meeting Wednesday. The session starts at 5 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 1301 Bacharach Blvd.
The Dave Matthews Band Caravan Tour stopped at Bader Field for three days in June 2011. Since then, the location has continued to attract not only concerts, but athletic and food-driven events, such as the Atlantic City Triathlon and Atlantic City Seafood Festival two weekends ago.
Adjacent Surf Stadium also reopened after the city addressed graffiti, damaged plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling systems, and general site dilapidation that occurred there following the departure of the Atlantic City Surf, a former minor league baseball team. After a rap concert headlined by Rick Ross last July, multiple cultural festivals and a youth baseball tournament, the stadium could field a home team once again if former Surf general manager Mario Perucci is successful in his quest to re-establish a baseball club there.
Dave Matthews promoter Starr Hill Presents also returned this summer with for a three-day Phish concert and Metallica’s Orion Music + More festival.
Starr Hill scrapped plans for weekend-long country and electronic dance-themed music fests in September after learning the state Department of Treasury would no longer waive the luxury tax previously forgiven for the company as well as others who requested it.
The state attributed the policy change to findings in an audit it later declined to release in response to an Open Public Records Act request filed by The Press of Atlantic City.
Starr Hill’s director of venue development, Ken MacDonald, was unavailable for comment Monday.
Fourth Ward Councilman and City Council President William “Speedy” Marsh is sponsoring the SFX support resolution. Marsh did not respond Monday to calls seeking comment.
Calls also were unreturned Monday by the City Solicitor’s Office and Councilman Rizwan Malik, who represents the 5th Ward, including Bader Field.
SFX Entertainment is a burgeoning production firm focused on electronic dance music. Its name comes from CEO Robert Sillerman’s 1990’s radio venture that ultimately merged with Clear Channel Entertainment, according to a statement from DKC Public Relations. DKC handles public relations for SFX.
Sillerman’s recent focus on club music has so far entailed buyouts of top industry promoters Dayglow and Disco Donnie Presents, cq intended to be the first of many such deals, according to the statement.
American Idol parent Core Media Group was founded as CKX Inc. by Sillerman, who remains its largest shareholder more than two years after his departure.
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