World Entertainment Services, a Santa Monica-based entertainment and concert promotion agency, has been selected by Burbank officials to operate the Starlight Amphitheatre, a city-owned facility plagued by financial and legal difficulties for years.
Michael S. Seemann, company president, said that on Friday he will announce 12 shows to be presented this summer at the 6,000-seat outdoor theater. Although he declined to name any acts, he said the shows will feature country-Western, jazz, soft rock and popular music artists.
“We’re providing alternative entertainment,” Seemann said. “We can’t hope to compete directly with the Greek Theatre or the Universal Amphitheatre.”
World Entertainment Services operates the Sandstone Amphitheatre, an 18,000-seat facility in Bonner Springs, Kan. Among the acts presented there last year were Whitesnake, the Beach Boys, Judas Priest, Earth Wind and Fire, and Merle Haggard.
Under the two-year contract, World Entertainment Services will pay Burbank a minimum of $25,000 this year for leasing the facility and a minimum of $40,000 for the 1990 season. The firm must pay the city $1 per person when the event’s ticket price is more than $15 and 75 cents per person when the ticket price is less than $15.
Previous operators have been required to pay annual rental fees averaging $25,000 or 5% of gross receipts of amphitheater events, whichever had been greater.
The city spends $25,000 annually to maintain the Starlight and its grounds.
The council approved World Entertainment Services despite the objections of Councilman Robert R. Bowne, who said concert crowds would disrupt the nearby residential neighborhood. The Starlight is in the Verdugo Mountains northeast of Burbank and can only be reached through single-family neighborhoods.
“I’m very concerned about these people’s quality of life being threatened,” Bowne said. “I don’t want that kind of thing happening to our residential neighborhoods. I’m really concerned about the impact of a viable commercial facility at this location.”
Richard I. Inga, city parks and recreation director, said his department and the Burbank Police Department have developed a parking and traffic control plan to minimize the amphitheater’s impact on the neighborhood. He added that the contract requires all shows to end by midnight and last no longer than six hours.
Councilman Michael R. Hastings said the World Entertainment Services agreement would create respect and status for the Starlight in the entertainment community.
The council decided in January that Tim Pinch, the Starlight’s previous operator, had breached his contract with the city because he failed to provide “broad and varied” entertainment during his three years as manager.