Stallions File Chapter 7

In Pollstar’s mid-year reports, it became apparent that the economic downturn was finally beginning to take a toll on grosses and ticket sales in the concert industry – especially for larger shows.

One such tour, the long-running World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions, has succumbed to the economy, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

The elaborate horse production turned 40 this year but there wasn’t much to celebrate. White Stallion Productions president and producer Gary Lashinsky told Pollstar things started heading south about 18 months ago and only got worse through April.

“First quarter has always been excellent for us, even in the worst of conditions,” he said. “But this year’s first quarter, the dates were way less than we’d anticipated. We were between 15 and 20 percent off in ticket sales.”

The production was pulled off the road and remaining dates for 2010 were canceled. Still, the Lipizzaner Stallions won’t be heading out to pasture anytime soon.

The company, which lists assets of $17,371 and liabilities of more than $2 million in its court filing, will be restructured and rebuilt before heading back out with a leaner tour in 2011.

Lashinsky chalked up much of the tour’s financial woes to people lacking the money to purchase tickets for family shows these days. But he also admitted the tour might have overplayed some markets, going in every year or every other year.

It’s a lesson he’s taking into consideration for the next round, staying out of certain markets before returning with “a tighter budget and better marketing to create a new touring situation.”

“We’re on the way but we’re going to do it differently and smartly,” he said.