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Poor Sales, Lack of Bonding Lead to Showdown on Benefit at Starlight

Times Staff Writer

A music festival scheduled this weekend at the Burbank Starlight Amphitheatre to raise funds for starving Africans may be canceled today because of poor ticket sales and the promoters’ failure to meet city requirements for using the amphitheater, city officials said Monday.

Organizers of the “You and Me Because We Care” event have not posted a $30,000 bond with Burbank to help pay for fire and police protection, according to Rich Inga, director of the Burbank’s Parks and Recreation Department. The promoters previously claimed they had posted a bond.

The promoters also have failed to secure required city health and safety licenses, and have not met with police to make final traffic-control arrangements, Inga said.

Meeting Scheduled Today

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Inga met with the concert organizers Monday, and another meeting is scheduled today to decide whether the concert will be staged or be canceled. The promoters already have postponed the concert once.

“We told them that the city sees the necessity of an immediate decision on what is going to happen this weekend,” Inga said. “The promoters told us they still have intentions of moving forward. But, if they do not produce the required documents and insurance, we will consider canceling the concert.”

City officials had previously expressed skepticism about whether the festival ever would take place at the troubled Starlight. The 6,500-seat facility has been the focus of controversy in recent years, with promoters experiencing financial difficulties and local officials attempting to ban rock concerts there in the late 1970s.

Continued Difficulties

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The City Council last month approved the free use of the Starlight for the festival. The organizers said the net proceeds would be donated to the Burbank chapter of the American Red Cross, which would then channel the funds to its national headquarters.

But the promoters have had continued difficulties. They promised they would produce big-name entertainers, but have yet to sign any. Ticket prices, which had ranged from $25 for lawn seats to $100 for box seats, had to be lowered to $20 to $60 when few tickets were sold.

Inga said concert organizers have not given him specific reasons why they have not posted the bond or provided insurance. “They just said they are now attempting to stage the concert on a volunteer basis, and that they have to finalize those arrangements before they can proceed with planning,” he said.

Michael Evans Boyd, executive producer of the festival, said Monday that he and his staff still were planning to stage the three-day concert, which is to begin Friday and run through the weekend. “I feel confident that the shows will go on,” Boyd said.

“I’m happy with a lot of things that have gone into the planning of this concert, and I’m unhappy with a few things. Unfortunately, those few things have been crucial. But everybody wants the shows, and they want to move ahead.”

Boyd said, “If people would see that these shows are being thrown to help somebody, and not view it as a concert, it would open their eyes.”


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