Plaza Problems

A nonprofit group that oversees the Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park Amphitheatre in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is butting heads with promoter Live Nation over a lack of shows at the shed.

Officials for the Centre for the Arts said that while they’d entered into a contract with the promoter to host 25 shows per year at Mizner Park, LN has yet to meet those terms.

“We’ve been disappointed in what’s been provided,” Charles Siemon, a co-founder of the Centre for the Arts, told Pollstar, “in terms of both the numbers and the level of shows.”

But the Centre for the Arts isn’t the only one with complaints.

Live Nation recently approached the Boca Raton City Council regarding concerns over street parties that form outside the amphitheatre, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Mizner Park is located within the Centre for the Arts in a mixed-use development that also includes apartments, restaurants, offices and retail space, and officials have faced issues in the past managing crowds in a plaza outside the venue during concerts.

Besides the security factor, the promoter has grumbled that when crowds are allowed to gather on the plaza with lawn chairs and blankets to listen to the concerts for free, the seats within the amphitheatre are empty.

Siemon said that LN, which inherited the contract with the Centre for the Arts after purchasing the late Jon Stoll’s Fantasma Productions, knew what it was getting into when it entered the deal.

“During the Fantasma years we just didn’t have any security problems,” he said, adding that although the previous promoter may have wished at times that the plaza onlookers were purchasing tickets, they understood that the shed provided a “unique setting.”

“We do some presentations here ourselves,” he said. “We just accept it as a fact of life here at the park.”

Representatives for LN lobbied city council members during a recent meeting to cordon off the plaza during concerts or institute a fee for people to hang out there, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Siemon said the Centre for the Arts had promised to back whatever decision the city made.

However, councilors didn’t seem very receptive to the idea, which they thought might keep patrons from visiting the area at all.
“We cannot charge them admission because no one will show up,” councilman Michael Mullaugh said.

Siemon said the Centre for the Arts has an obligation to the city to keep the amphitheatre active and draw people downtown.
“The existing situation is just not satisfying to the city, nor to us,” he said. “We’d like 25 great shows per year.”