New Mission For Tour Buses

Though the summer touring season is winding down, the effects of Hurricane Katrina are still being felt in the industry. For example, 50 tour buses are in the New Orleans area transporting workers to and from Louisiana railroads. It’s apparently caused a transportation deficit in the concert biz.

“We made all these record labels mad because we created a shortage,” C.J. Curtsinger of CJ Star Buses told Pollstar. “I had a guy call me and say I really ruined the trains that rock the music industry. It’s really weird. I didn’t think 50 buses would make a dent, but I guess it has.”

Curtsinger’s Nicholasville, Ky.-based company has a fleet of about 10 buses. The city is also home to the R.J. Corman Railroad Company, which needed buses for rebuilding the railroad. Apparently, Eddie Montgomery of the country duo Montgomery Gentry is friends with Corman and contacted Curtsinger about the railroad businessman’s plight.

Curtsinger gave Corman a low rate to lease his fleet. He then called five major bus companies from across the nation and arranged for approximately 40 additional vehicles to be sent to Louisiana to transport workers to repair the CSX railroad, Union Pacific and others. Plus, some buses are being used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Curtsinger said the bus grab has had a ripple effect.

“It was still part of the (concert) season, see, and I started leasing these buses from all different parts of the country … Ziggy (Custom Coaches), Star Coach, Coast To Coast, Four Seasons. They started leasing to me before they figured out the season wasn’t over.

“This guy from a record company called and said, ‘Man, you’re rockin’ our world here, bud.’ I said, ‘You’re not even one of our customers.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but we have certain artists who like certain buses and now we can’t get ‘em.’

“We created a shortage before this last little peak.”

Curtsinger added that he’s looking for 10 more buses to move into hurricane relief service.

Joe Reinartz