WILDWOOD — The city wants to step up its beach concert game in a big way.
Mayor Ernie Troiano said the city is looking to host seven beach concerts this year between May and September even after negotiations collapsed with a billionaire-backed promoting firm.
“We’re looking at one each month, starting in May, and then a couple smaller ones in-between,” he said. “You can have crowds anywhere from 20,000 people to 70, 80, 90 thousand.”
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Troiano declined to name any potential performers but said he expects an announcement of the acts and concert dates within the next two weeks.
“There’s been a lot of names thrown out,” he added.
It would represent a large increase in the number of beach concerts for Wildwood. In July, the city hosted country music star Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney performed on the beach five years ago.
The mayor said Alan Nau will be the promoter for the events, after negotiations broke down between the city and Beach Ball LLC, a New York-based company with ties to billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
“Beach Ball is a big conglomerate with 8 million attorneys who can’t seem to understand the concept of a beach concert,” Troiano said.
Nau, who was named as a producer under proposed agreement with Beach Ball, helped organize the 2012 Kenny Chesney concert in Wildwood and has worked on similar beach concerts in Asbury Park and Seaside Heights, according to a letter drafted City Solicitor Marcy D’Arcy Bittner last year.
Troiano said Nau offered to act as the promoter after Beach Ball stepped down.
“We feel very confident in working with this guy,” he said.
No formal contract has been signed between Nau and the city, Troiano said. The mayor said there was not enough time to put the project out to bid, so the city will use special events permits for each concert.
Troiano did not specify the details of the arrangement.
“We will make sure that we get our fair share,” he said. “It’s going to work out.”
If it does and five big acts and a couple smaller shows come to Wildwood’s wide beaches, the city will challenge Atlantic City in the size and scale of its beach concerts.
Atlantic City held three beach concerts last summer and an additional two were canceled due to weather. City and tourism officials in Atlantic City are also eager to expand the resort’s beach concerts.
“The more beach concerts, the better,” Meet AC President Jim Wood said in September.
Mayor Don Guardian said he expected the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to announce the concert series in the near future.
“If you picked the six biggest names in entertainment, you can guess who we are bringing in for the one big concert that we have,” Guardian said, while refusing to give the name of the artist.
This year the city wants to keep its beach concert stage, located near The Pier, up for a month following the large show, said Guardian, who’s on the CRDA’s board of directors.
“We have some smaller shows and then have another with several acts similar to what they have in Hersey,” Guardian said. “We are going to work with another Jersey Shore community to coordinate entertainment week to week.”
The CRDA declined to comment on potential beach concerts.