C3 Presents partner Charles Attal would probably be fibbing a little bit if he said he wasn’t disappointed at postponing his original plan to stage the Vineland Music Festival August 8-10 in the New Jersey town.
But when he learned that two rock supergroups were planning to hit sheds in the area the same week, in addition to two other festivals happening the same weekend, he knew it was the smart business decision.
Instead of vying for attention – not to mention fans – with numerous other live events in early August, Vineland is expected to have a weekend to itself in early summer 2009, the promoters announced January 25th.
"It wasn’t like we got forced off that day. We could have rolled with it, but it would not have been smart," Attal told Pollstar. Because the two new competing concerts haven’t been publicly announced, he declined to identify them.
"With [AEG Live-promoted] All Points West and [I.M.P’s] Virgin Fest on the same weekend, we knew that was going to be a struggle. But then we learned two massive bands were coming through Philly during the same week.
"They are huge. … It wouldn’t have been a good decision to stay on that date. It was a traffic jam," Attal said. "We move dates on shows all the time. This way, Seth [Hurwitz] and All Points get to take the dates and then everybody, hopefully, wins. That was the reasoning behind us moving. It’s a win-win."
Attal said C3 and Vineland co-promoter Festival Republic weren’t initially concerned about going head-to-head with All Points West or Virgin. But in retrospect, the partners came to the conclusion that a postponement was in the interest of several parties – not the least of which were the fans.
"From the fan’s point of view, this was a lose-lose situation," Attal said. "From the community’s point of view and from C3’s point of view, it was a lose-lose.
"By moving it to an isolated weekend, we’ll have more time to spend with outreach and with the city, more time to focus on what our event is going to be instead of looking over our shoulder and seeing what everyone else is doing, and really develop this thing grassroots the way we really wanted to do it in the first place."
The community outreach part of the equation was no small matter. While festival promoters everywhere often face initial opposition from neighbors worried about the effects of traffic, crowds and noise, C3 Presents had been working diligently with civic groups and Vineland Mayor Perry Barse to allay fears.
"The city of Vineland and the mayor have been very supportive," Attal said. "They’re dedicated to making this happen. Neighborhood outreach takes time and there’s always going to be opposition. We’ve done it with all of our festivals. That wasn’t the reason we pulled this thing, but it was one of the reasons we said, ‘Hey, let’s look at a later date to get these really tied down.’
"I think it’s going to work out well for everyone. Everyone’s got their egos and I get that, but we as a company had to make a business decision that would better affect our company and also the city of Vineland. I think the city of Vineland is going to benefit from having it on a stand-alone weekend."