River Stages Reverses Course

The eighth annual River Stages festival in Nashville, which would have taken place in early May, has been put on cold storage by Pace Concerts, which wants to take the summer to assess the event.

Pace Concerts – Nashville veep Jason Wright told Pollstar the promotion company, a division of Clear Channel, was considering a reassessment of River Stages when it learned the festival site was undergoing major construction this summer.

“We thought, ‘All right, you know what? This just gives us some more time to step back and see if there’s something we can create here, something we can do better,'” Wright said.

The event – which reportedly draws between 20,000 and 40,000 people to the city’s downtown area – has had two years of low attendance. Last year’s fest coincided with Atlanta’s Music Midtown, and Memphis In May, but Wright believes weather was the primary factor for low attendance in the past two years.

“We’ve talked about moving it to the summer. For whatever reason, it seems that the weather always plays havoc with the festival, and last year the Southeast really had a difficult weekend,” he said. “We did, Atlanta did, Memphis did and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival closed their gates early (one day).”

If the festival returns in 2006, it could add country and other types of music to what has traditionally been a pop / alt rock event.

“We’re looking for a new and better business model and in doing that, you need to be open to all possibilities.”

Last year’s lineup included The Strokes, Fountains of Wayne, and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. The multistage event typically hosts about 60 bands.

In the meantime, Music Midtown has moved from May to June 10-12 this summer.