An Old Face At New Fla. Venue

Ferg’s Sports Bar near  in St. Petersburg, Fla., is opening an outdoor concert venue and has formed a joint venture with a partner who will exclusively book and promote it.
at Ferg's

Jack Bodziak has owned, operated and booked venues long before being brought on to book the Concert Courtyard at Ferg’s. He owned and booked the State Theater and, most notably, nearby Jannus Landing from 1997 until 2010, when he was sidelined by some now-resolved legal issues that caused him to sell the venue. Bodziak, now CEO of Phoenix Productions, will book a venue carved out of the back lot of Ferg’s Sports Bar that can accommodate crowds from 1,500 to 3,000 people.

An upstairs patio of the bar will be utilized as VIP area during concert days, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Bodziak, who estimates he has organized or promoted up to 2,500 shows by age 42, returned to promoting in the last three years the support of longtime associates including Robert Deuterman of Deuterman Productions, Marshall Lowe of Music Farm Productions and Harry Tiyler of Fat Harry Productions, among others. He most recently promoted an August concert with Boy George and Culture Club, Howard Jones, and others at nearby Madeira Beach’s new R.O.C. Park.

Bodziak told Pollstar he inked a long-term deal with Ferg’s for the Concert Courtyard for “the lowest imaginable lease you could have” on Sept. 18, and within days confirmed his first official show at the venue Nov. 1 with WarrantRatt, and .

He’s secured a 40- by 20-foot stage, is installing a professional roof, and working with top sound and lighting professionals including Pat Clark of ESI, and has hired Johnny Green as venue production manager. The venue site has the added advantage of lots of parking for a near-waterfront location.

“I’m sandwiched in downtown St. Pete in the shadow of [Tropicana Field] baseball stadium and the most popular sports/entertainment bar in downtown, with a ton of parking where we have a revenue share,” Bodziak told Pollstar.

“Overall, I’ve got the ability as a promoter … to open the doors to not only other promoters and strike deals that nobody else can, but do inhouse booking using all the revenue streams at my disposal. We sit perfectly in a niche that doesn’t exist in this market. There’s not another venue out there like us,” he continued. “Over the years, I’ve had very strong relationships with agencies and agents, and now I’m back with my feet on the ground and every backer a man can ask for. We’re fully financed and we’re going to go out and do some shows.”

Bodziak said he plans to operate the Concert Courtyard as an open venue, citing relationships with locals like Tiyler and Deutman as well as international promoters like Live Nation and AEG. And he’s enthusiastic about the venue’s – and his own – future.

“I’ve never been a money motivated person. It’s music I love,” he said. “Everyone has that one fist-pumping moment, that memory of their first concert. That’s why I do this. It’s not about money.

“At the end of the day, I just want to do shows. And I intend to go after them with a very aggressive style of talent buying. I’m looking forward to it.”