Mayor Wants To Buy Concerts

A columnist at the Niagara Falls Reporter wants to know why the town’s mayor wants to give $40,000 to a blues festival that doesn’t even want the money.

Mayor Paul Dyster told the paper he wanted to donate $40,000 of taxpayer money to the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, at the New York city’s Old Falls Street Sept. 11-14.

He said the money would help organizers bring in a national act. However, promoter Toby Rotella rejected the suggestion that he needed to find a national act, saying he could stage a well-attended blues festival with less cash.

“If they want to drop $40,000, I might be able to get Buddy Guy. But I don’t need no money from the city. I’m a blues guy,” Rotella told the paper. Apparently the mayor likes subsidizing concerts and originally asked the city council to give $40,000 to the local Hard Rock Cafe, owned by the Seminole Indian Tribe, to bring in better acts.

When the council said no, Dyster suggested the money go to the blues festival – although the blues festival had “what has been called their most successful show” last year without public money.

Apparently Dyster has spent more than $700,000 of public money on concerts at the Hard Rock, according to the paper. The columnist got an anonymous tip that this all had to do with Global Spectrum, which sells beer for the blues festival.

The conspiracy has something to do with Global Spectrum being involved with the Buffalo waterfront development, and that they “have a restaurant there” managed by a former Hard Rock executive who is a close friend to Dyster.

“Is it possible that Dyster wants a big act so it will draw more people so that Global Spectrum will sell more beer?” the columnist asked. “Is it possible that Mayor Dyster is trying to also help Global Spectrum so that public money is used to aid a private company to get bigger crowds and hence bigger beer sales?”

The answer may never be known. And the blues festival may never have Buddy Guy.