A Tribute To Clio

After filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2005 and reopening the following year, the Clio Area Amphitheater in Clio, Mich., turned over a new leaf this season with six free concerts and a $15,600 profit.

Although the venue received at least $10,000 through donations and raffles, and Tacoma Productions, which operates the concession stand, donated $5,000 in profits, this is the first year since reopening that the arena has brought in money, according to the Flint Journal.

When the venue closed, it listed liabilities of nearly $850,000 and assets of about $258,400.

This year the residents in Clio enjoyed six shows from tribute bands covering the music of Motown, Eagles, Bob Seger, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and Elton John.

The Clio Ministerial Association also used the venue and sponsored some concerts. Including the six free shows, there were 17 events at the shed this season.

Gary Langdon, chair of the amphitheatre’s governing board, told Pollstar the plan to do tribute shows was modeled after a successful program in Franklin, Mich., that has run a series of free concerts for a number of years.

“The city of Clio was magnanimous and gave us $40,000 basically as seed money for our first year. And we’ve gone from there,” Langdon said.

“The new board of directors’ mission was to let everyone know that we had a heartbeat, that we hadn’t gone away and that we wanted to put butts in the seats again. And we did that last year. And that’s just a baby step for us and we want to continue to go forward.”

Langdon told the Flint Journal the first free show brought in about 1,500 fans and by the end of the season the venue had a full house, up to capacity at 3,100 seats.

He said the venue plans to host another six free tribute shows for the 2009 season, if not more, and that the arena may have ticketed events in the future on a small scale in order to fund the tribute acts.

“Our area is economically impoverished,” Langdon said. “I know the whole country is going through tremendous turmoil economically but Michigan unfortunately leads the nation in unemployment and our county of Genesee, I think, has an unemployment rate almost twice the national average.

“So [the free shows] is just something that’s right to do at this point in time. We want to fundraise and provide some entertainment for people in this area, family-based entertainment that they can afford – and if it’s free they definitely should be able to afford it.”