State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

Month: June 2016

Ghost Town

The complete Chevrolet Court line-up was released on Monday and it’s a shocking list to say the least. It’s not surprising for the acts that are included, but for what’s not on the bill.

“Our goal was to present the greatest and most diverse lineup of talent in Chevy Court history and I believe we’ve done it,” Acting Director Troy Waffner said in a statement. SF 2015 NL2 036“We’ve invested more than ever in our lineup and I know this will be a year of shows people will remember for a long, long time.”

That may be true, but it’s hard to believe that a Chevy Court line-up of 23 concerts over a 12-day run of the Fair could be considered complete when there’s not a single country music act among the shows booked. The last time that happened depends on your definition of country, COURT CROWD DAY-15but safe to say it’s been about 30 years, though a few years were lightly represented.

You may recall that the Fair granted concert Goliath Live Nation the Chevy Court booking contract for this year. If you’re wondering if they were influenced by having scheduled numerous country acts, albeit mostly dismal ones, at the amphitheater and not wanting to compete with themselves, The Hound is wondering that too.

In any event, this enormous omission, disappointing fans who have consistently supported Fair concerts over the years, is an example of what we get with privatizing at the Fair, allowing some outside business to put corporate profits over the interests of Fair patrons. It’s a mistake we should be certain to avoid in the future.

No Deal

Poultry, like this handsome fellow photographed by Hound photog Nick LoPresti in 2014, Blue ribbon bird 14will return after missing last Fair as part of a precautionary policy to prevent illness.

Speaking of bird-brained ideas, our illustrious Governor is currently seeking bids from companies proposing to manage the New York State Fair. State Fair Hound has a few questions for the Gov:

What evidence exists that private operators could or would do a better job?

What financial terms could be contracted that would provide an advantage of state taxpayers?

Would longtime, experienced, expert Fair employees be retained or replaced by staff DENNIS B 15totally unfamiliar with the specific characteristics, needs, traditions and history of our Fair?

Chevrolet Court concerts are already being booked by an outside firm, Live Nation. Has that created a better line-up and a more satisfying experience for Fair patrons?

Specifically, what decisions and operations would fall within the authority of the outside contractor? Which would be handled by state or Fair employees?

The Hound tends to believe that it’s always a bad idea to hand over a critical operation to someone whose primary objective is maximizing their own profits. Fair employees are dedicated to making it the best event for their customers—that’s their full-time job. The Hound thinks that’s the way it should stay.

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