Clio Shed Closes Doors

Michigan’s Clio Area Amphitheater said August 18th that it will shut its doors because of lagging ticket sales.

“Due to insufficient ticket sales, the board of Governors has voted to discontinue operations and has retained an attorney to file the proper Chapter 7 (bankruptcy) proceedings. Arrangements will be made to pay each refund,” a statement on the venue’s Web site said.

Canceled dates in August and September include Travis Tritt, Ron White, Brian Wilson, Buddy Guy / Jonny Lang, Hoobastank, and Michael McDonald.

“We operated this thing from our heart and our soul,” David Miner, chairman of the amphitheatre’s board, told The Flint Journal.

The board is arranging for refunds, but Miner reportedly said he can’t guarantee when ticket buyers will see their money. Control of the shed will eventually revert back to the city, he said.

A week prior to the closure, the venue was seeking to renegotiate contracts with numerous performers to persuade them to take less money.

The 3,100-seat shed was struggling with competition from the surrounding Detroit and Mt. Pleasant areas, according to the Journal.

In recent weeks, the shed had some strong sellers, including Clay Aiken, Larry The Cable Guy, and Big & Rich. But the paper said Clio had taken hits on shows with Huey Lewis And The News, LeAnn Rimes, and Tom Jones.

“We are renegotiating with several of the artists because they have not come through in ticket sales,” Clio spokeswoman Jessica Brown told the Journal prior to the announcement. “What they’re asking for in payment to come here is not equal to what they’re able to sell.”

The fee to score artists at the venue this season has reportedly ranged from $50,000 to $125,000.

In an effort to boost sales, the amphitheatre was offering two-for-one bleacher seats on concerts and indicated the deal was going well.

Clio, which had a budget of close to $2 million, last made a profit in the 2003 concert season. Unlike its competitors, Clio did not make money from alcohol sales or parking, the Journal said.

Amphitheatre COO Todd Brown appealed to the Clio Commission office August 15th to grant a special permit for beer sales for the rest of the year to see how much money it would generate. But nothing ever came of it.

Miner wouldn’t comment further to the newspaper on the extent of the venue’s financial woes but said continuing concerts would have just dug a deeper hole.

The venue did not return calls at press time.