Metropolitan Out At CMAC

John Scher’s Metropolitan Talent is out and The Bowery Presents is in at Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (better known as CMAC) near Canadaigua, N.Y., after Metropolitan amicably ended its booking agreement in late October.

Scher cited CMAC’s somewhat remote location and competition from nearby Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center and shed operator Live Nation in deciding to opt out of continued operation of the upstate New York amphitheatre.

“We were losing a significant amount of money over the last two years given the agreement we had made with CMAC,” Scher told Pollstar. “We called CMAC at the end of the last season and tried to work something out. We couldn’t work a deal out that made financial sense for us. There’s no bad reflection on the venue; it’s a beautiful venue. We just made a bad deal.”

CMAC wasn’t left hanging, however. It contacted The Bowery Presents, the New York City club promoter now headed up by partners Jim Glancy and John Moore, about booking and promoting the venue.

Glancy won’t be coming in unaware of the competition that Scher cited – the former president of Live Nation’s New York division left the company to join Moore at The Bowery Presents in 2006.

Neither Glancy nor Moore was available at press time, but Bowery spokeswoman Jaime Roberts told Pollstar the booking agreement made with CMAC is exclusive.

CMAC, built four years ago on the site of the former Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, is a non-profit operated by Friends of CMAC and managed by SMG.

“It was a very economic decision at the end of the day,” Friends of CMAC Executive Director Ginny Clark told the Rochester Democrat Chronicle. “Metropolitan wanted two times what we were paying them this past season. I know John needed to do that for economic reasons.”

Scher agreed that the deal in place no longer made sense for Metropolitan Talent in the present economy without the market power to book big shows. “Despite having been relegated to doing smaller shows, we had two great seasons, from a booking and content perspective,” he said. “We did a lot of terrific shows that did very well.”

But drawing on more than three decades of booking and promoting in the western and Upstate New York region wasn’t enough to overcome Live Nation’s market power at nearby Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Scher said.

“Fundamentally, if you’re trying to produce concerts in an amphitheatre, you can’t compete with Live Nation. I know Darien Lakes very well; I built it in my former life.

“You can’t compete against Live Nation because they have the market power between the national tours they have and just the mere fact that they own or control 90 percent of the amphitheatres in America. It’s almost impossible to get big shows,” Scher said.