Live Nation Formally Takes Over Maine State Pier Concert Series

Maine State Pier
Whitney Hayward/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
– Maine State Pier
Crowds gather for the Pat Benatar concert at the Maine State Pier in Portland, Maine, on May 19, 2015
The city council of Portland, Maine, unanimously voted April 18 to rescind its contract with local promoter Waterfront Concerts and instead have Live Nation book the summer concert series at the Maine State Pier following calls to boycott Waterfront over owner Alex Gray’s domestic violence assault case. 
Gray’s former girlfriend Erica Cole spoke at the public hearing after bringing the controversy over the contract to the public’s attention by publishing an open letter to Portland City Manager Jon Jennings April 1, urging the city not to do business with Gray to send a message that the “community does not tolerate domestic violence.” 
Although the city’s contract is now with Live Nation, the Portland Press Herald points out that the vote is “largely symbolic” because the company could subcontract the concerts to Waterfront Concerts. 
Bob Duteau, VP of booking at Live Nation, spoke at the hearing and said that that while 5,000 tickets to a half-dozen shows at the Maine State Pier have already been sold, Live Nation could have its staff in Massachusetts handle the concerts.  
“I’ve known Alex for a while and he’s been a true gentleman. (But) if you don’t want Alex at those shows or on your property this summer, I can make that happen,” Duteau said, according to the Herald
Waterfront Concerts had promoted the concert series for the past three years and the council had unanimously renewed its deal for another season in February. During the April 18 public hearing, the city council heard from residents and domestic violence counselors who opposed Waterfront’s involvement, along with company officials and employees who spoke about the negative impact losing the contract would have on Waterfront’s staff. 
Gray pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault in Maine Superior Court in October. Cole reported to police that a March 2017 argument turned violent, with Gray putting his hand on her throat and banging her head on the floor, according to the Herald. Gray reportedly admitted to causing the pair to fall to the floor during the argument but denied ever becoming violent. 
Gray’s agreement allows him to withdraw his plea and for the charges to be dropped if he abides by 22 conditions including no contact with Cole for one year.
Pollstar reached out to Gray and Live Nation for comment. 
When the city council announced in early April it would reevaluate the contract, Gray told Pollstar, “I don’t understand the city’s position. There’s no new information. I may be the owner, but I’m one person of a large organization. Honestly, my employees are fantastic and the number of people affected by this is far greater than myself, although that seems to be the focus.
“I understand Ms. Cole is upset, but we fundamentally disagree about what happened that evening and will continue to do so.”