Early Bird Bayfront

Usually fans complain about having to wait for a concert to start. At Bayfront Park in Duluth, Minn., opening act Collective Soul began to play at 6:30 p.m. July 22 when the concert was advertised to start at 7 p.m.

By the time many fans arrived, the band was ending its set, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Secret Service Entertainment concert promoter Craig Samborski, who also manages the venue for the city, said an early curfew forced an early start for the concert, which also featured Live and Blues Traveler. He learned just a week before the show that the mayor set a curfew of 10 p.m. weeknights and 10:30 weekends.

Samborski told Pollstar he sent a letter to the city administration, concerned that the new curfew was in conflict with the current ordinance and his contract, which stated the curfew as 11 p.m. He received a reply from the city attorney July 17 – just a couple of business days before the show – that his contract does not trump the administration’s position.

According to the promoter, the letter said, "Patrons need to be out of the venue by 11 p.m. so that means you have to stop the music significantly before then so they can be out of the venue and out of the parking lot."

"To have a curveball like this thrown at you just a couple days before an event, especially when you really only have the weekend to react and you’ve spent a good $10,000 on advertising, it’s a very frustrating position to be in," Samborski said.

The Duluth News Tribune noted that he said radio station KQ95 "did their best to get the word out" but that no other news outlets were alerted to the early start.

"There are some upset fans and rightly so," Samborski said, adding he took a total of 18 complaints and gave out 12 refunds at the gate.

"What we found interesting was that the city administration had an internal meeting about this, which we asked to be included at, and we were never responded to. City administrators do not know the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment business," Samborski said. "It was very frustrating not to be included in that meeting so they could at least hear our perspective on why we felt it should be going on until a midnight curfew."

Less than a week after the concert, the Duluth City Council voted unanimously July 28 to allow concert acts to play until midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Samborski said he’s happy about the news but "it doesn’t take the sting out of what happened earlier. … It’s certainly better than a 10 p.m. curfew."