Fair Vendor Gets Concession

Live Nation’s no-bid contract to book the New York State Fair has drawn some fire, including from a concession stand vendor who was asked to move aside so Live Nation could have his spot.

Mark Albert sold about $200,000 worth of beer, hot dogs and bottled water at last year’s fair but was asked this year to give up his prime spot to Live Nation, which would sell beer at the same location, rent-free, Albert told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“It doesn’t seem right that a local New York vendor would be relocated for a California company at the New York State Fair,” said Albert, whose concessions business is called Showtimes At The Court. Albert paid the fair $9,255 in rent and $34,501 in beer revenue in 2007, he told the paper. At this location he sold more beer than all but one stand, he said.

Albert has been given a different spot rent-free where he can set up two concession stands. Live Nation would have paid $25,200 in rent for the 4,200-square-foot space but has agreed to not charge the state $40,000 to book the fair’s free Chevy Court concerts, according to Jessica Chittenden, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the fair.

The no-bid contract raised criticism, but State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker recently said the fair would seek competitive proposals for next year’s contract.