2009 City Stages

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The 2009 City Stages was the 21st and final annual edition of "Birmingham's World-Class Music Festival". The festival took place on nine stages around Linn Park and 5th Avenue North on June 19-June 21, 2009.

Advance 3-day passes were sold for $37.50 through Ticketmaster and Legacy Community Credit Union. One day passes were $28, with children 12 and under free. AEG Live/The Messina Group was contracted as the festival's booking agency, replacing Knoxville, Tennesee's AC Entertainment. One headliner, Jane's Addiction, canceled its scheduled performance before the event.

The 2009 event marked the loss of City Stages' "Homegrown Stage" featuring local music acts. In reaction, bham.fm organized a Secret Stages event at Speakeasy with several local bands.

The Birmingham News published observations from festival-goers and vendors that the crowds seemed much smaller than in years past. Spokesman Jim Taylor told the News on Sunday that despite continued shaky finances, that the 2009 event would not be the last City Stages. A few days later a statement from the Birmingham Cultural and Heritage Foundation acknowledged that the festival was "irretrievably insolvent" and stated its intention to cease doing business.

Line-up

Friday

  • Miller Lite Stage
    • Vulture Whale (6:00)
    • 38 Special (7:00)
    • REO Speedwagon & Styx (8:00)
  • Legacy Credit Union Stage
  • Boost Mobile Discovery Stage
  • Music Oasis Stage
  • Dance Depot
    • Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys (6:30)
    • Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys (8:20)
    • Kids Got the Disco with Nastique and DJ Charles III (10:00)

Saturday

  • Miller Lite Stage
    • Corey Jones (1:00)
    • Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars (2:00)
    • Shirock (3:30)
    • Meiko (4:30)
    • Eric Hutchinson (6:00)
    • Jonny Lang (7:30)
    • The Neville Brothers (9:00)
    • Charlie Wilson (10:30)
  • Legacy Credit Union Stage
    • Abram & Sarah (1:00)
    • Brandon Young (2:00)
    • Zee Avi (3:30)
    • Erin McCarley (5:00)
    • Mat Kearney (6:30)
    • Corey Smith (8:00)
    • Dierks Bentley (10:00)
  • Boost Mobile Discovery Stage
    • Alserene (1:00)
    • Drive South (2:00)
    • How I Became the Bomb (3:00)
    • The Hard Lessons (4:00)
    • Hightide Blues (5:30)
    • Roman Candle (7:00)
    • Wax Fang (8:30)
    • Black Moth Super Rainbow (10:30)
  • Music Oasis Stage
  • Dance Depot
    • Contra dance lessons with Becca Impello (1:30)
    • Herb Trotman & Friends (2:00)
    • Walk the floor lessons with Pat Shelby & Robert Williams (3:15)
    • Alabama Blues Machine (3:45)
    • Foxtrot lessons (5:00)
    • Joe Giattina Orchestra (5:30)
    • Cajun two-step with Ron Sumera (6:45)
    • Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars (7:15)
    • Lil' Malcolm & the House Rockers (8:15)
  • Publix Children's Festival

Sunday

  • Miller Lite Stage
    • Alice in Thunderland (1:00)
    • Courtney Jaye (2:00)
    • Hill Country Revue (3:00)
    • The Whigs (4:30)
    • Guster (6:00)
    • The Doobie Brothers (7:30)
    • Lynyrd Skynyrd (9:00)
  • Legacy Credit Union Stage
    • Pio Fusco (1:00)
    • The Pine Hill Haints (2:00)
    • Enemy Lovers (3:00)
    • Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (4:00)
    • Flat Cat (5:30)
    • Ohio Avenue (6:30)
    • Needtobreathe (7:30)
    • En Vogue (9:00)
  • Boost Mobile Discovery Stage
    • Turbo Fruits (1:30)
    • Royal Bangs (2:30)
    • Electric Touch (3:30)
    • Ryan Kinder Band (5:00)
    • Overfloe (6:30)
    • Young Jeezy (8:00)
  • Music Oasis Stage
  • Dance Depot
    • Swing lessons with Pat Abbott & Rick Alfano (2:00)
    • Patton James & the Synchromatics (2:30)
    • Zydeco lessons with Anthony Lewis & Cheri Mullenix (4:00)
    • Leon Chavis & the Zydeco Flames (4:30)
    • Whiskey River jitterbug lessons with Anthony Lewis & Cheri Mullenix (6:00)
    • Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (6:30)
    • The Latin Rhythms Band (8:30)
  • Publix Children's Festival

Finances

As of January 2009, City Stages was reportedly carrying $400,000 in debt, of which $168,000 represented the deficit from the 2008 City Stages. The figure for accumulated debt from previous years was reported again in June as $550,000.

The 2009 festival budget was $2.3 million. Sponsorships covered $450,000 of the total and, along with public funding and food and beverage sales, left $800,000 to be made up in ticket sales. Corporate advance ticket sales, however, dropped to $240,000, well short of the $400,000 expected, prompting the festival to petition the Birmingham City Council to increase its appropriation from $300,000 to $550,000 to make up the shortfall. In exchange, the festival provided free admission to people over age 60.

In requesting the additional public support, the festival claimed that "each dollar invested... means 10 to 20 dollars for the city." That claim was based on economic impact reports from 1999-2001 prepared by the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

On the Tuesday following the festival, organizers reported that sales of day passes were the lowest in the history of the event.

Arrests

A total of 34 arrests were made during the festival, mostly by undercover vice and narcotics detectives working to prevent underage drinking. 24 of the arrests were minors charged with possessing alcohol, 6 were for furnishing alcohol to a minor, and one was for selling alcohol to a minor. Two other arrests were for unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, and one was for disorderly conduct. The total was down sharply from 74 arrests made at the 2008 City Stages. Sergeant Johnny Williams Jr characterized the crowd as "well-behaved".

Warrants for festival founder George McMillan and executive director Denise Koch were issued after some vendors received bad checks in the aftermath of the festival.

City Stages
Site: Linn Park and Downtown Birmingham
By year: 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998
1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009
Miscellaneous: Gallery of City Stages posters

References

  • Colurso, Mary (January 23, 2009) "Birmingham's City Stages $168,000 in the red for 2008, about $400,000 total." Birmingham News
  • Kwon, Wade (March 30, 2009) "City Stages 2009: The lineup". Wade on Birmingham
  • Kwon, Wade (June 18, 2009) "City Stages 2009: Less money, mo problems". Wade on Birmingham
  • Kemp, Kathy (June 21, 2009) "No swan song for City Stages, organizers say." Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (June 23, 2009) "Arrests down at City Stages." Birmingham News
  • Colurso, Mary (June 23, 2009) "City Stages 2009 day ticket sales drop to all-time low." Birmingham News

External links