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JULY 01 - JULY 09, 2014

Ringo's Artpark Sell Out Fueled By Taxpayer Funded Ticket Subsidies?

By Mike Hudson

July 01, 2014

Artpark management can’t figure out how to make money with Ringo?

When Ringo Starr and his All Star Band performed at Lewiston's Artpark on June 24, the show wasn't much different from those on the rest of his lengthy North American tour.

The former Beatle, backed by the likes of Todd Rundgren and other boldface names, ran through a long set that included hits and favorites from an important musical career that has spanned more than half a century.

Carl Perkins' "Matchbox," Beatles classics like "A Little Help From My Friends" and Ringo's solo hits like "Photograph" enchanted listeners young and old.

The thing that was different about the Artpark show was the ticket price. The sold out crowd of more than 12,000 got in with tickets costing as little as $17 apiece, far below what fans paid to see the loveable lad from Liverpool in other cities.

At the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, where Ringo will be playing on July 19, ticket prices range from $40 to $100. And tonight, at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater, fans will pay between $60 and $145 for their cruise down memory lane.

In some ventures Ringo tickets are priced from $200- $550 per ticket.

Why the difference?

If everyone in the crowd paid $10 more per Ringo ticket, Artpark wouldn’t need to beg from Lewiston.

Perhaps because the shows at Artpark are heavily subsidized events, with taxpayer dollars making up the difference between the ticket price and what it actually costs.

The Town of Lewiston gives Artpark $100,000 a year directly in money it receives for recreation from Modern Disposal and on top of that pays for police services (est. $74,500 per year) and traffic signage (est. $13,500). That subsidy has become a bone of contention between Supervisor Dennis Brochey, a Democrat, and the largely Republican town board, led by former police chief Ron Winkley.

Winkley, who formerly served on the Artpark Board of Directors, is in favor of the subsidy, while Brochey maintains that the money could better be spent elsewhere in the town.

Would Ringo's capacity crowd been diminished had concert-goers had to actually pay what their counterparts in other cities had to pay? Probably not.

Funny, too, if Ringo tickets were sold for just $10 more, or $27 per ticket, there is little doubt the concert would have sold out. At $10 more per ticket, it still would have been the cheapest Ringo ticket anywhere on earth.

Yet, had they raised the prices by $10 each, Artpark & Company would have reaped an additional $120,000, thus eliminating the need for the $100,000 per year Lewiston subsidy.

So why doesn't Artpark grow up and perform like the big-boy concert promoters they pretend to be?

Why should some senior citizen living in Lewiston and paying taxes have to subsidize one of the richest musicians on the face of the planet?

It's only rock and roll but we like it, though maybe not that much.


Ziggy Marley appeared last week at Artpark and the air was scented with cannabis. If everyone at the concert paid $1 per doobie smoked, it could have made a dent in the subsidies Artpark needs.





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