Free Concerts Cut

Free concerts can’t make ends meet without an audience, so the promoter of a complimentary series recently scrapped his last three shows in Syracuse, N.Y., citing low attendance.

Wednesdays on the Water consisted of weekly summer concerts at the city’s Great Lawn at the Inner Harbor. While the series opener with Great White drew roughly 7,000, promoter Marc Albert told the local Post-Standard attendance and concession revenues fizzled for later shows.

“The attendance was terrible,” Albert said. “The series [budget] was based on attendance and [subsequent] concession figures. The last few weeks, it hasn’t been there. I can only go so deep out of pocket … All I could see was a deeper loss.”

Albert said his company, Marc Albert Enterprises, had settled up with the bands and crews for the events so far, but suffered a loss “over six figures.”  The last performance was by Dickey Betts & Great Southern before Albert looked at the attendance and revenue and decided to cut his losses three shows early.

Performances were canceled featuring former Foreigner singer Lou Gramm and the local Todd Hobin Band. 

Albert told the Post-Standard he wondered whether the economy was involved in the flop, but he also questioned whether he picked the wrong lineup for the city.

“I was trying to do the right thing by doing free events with a great venue and great atmosphere,” he said. “Obviously, I picked something wrong. What I thought was a promising venture, the attendance and concessions really didn’t pan out.”