RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Live Nation, the country’s leading provider of live entertainment, will operate Riverside’s historic Fox Performing Arts Center and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium following the unanimous approval of a three-year contract by the Riverside City Council.
The City Council voted on Tuesday (10/9) to enter into a contract with Live Nation that calls for 60 shows at the Fox and 50 shows and special events at the Municipal Auditorium in the first year.
Live Nation officials have said they expect the Fox Theater to expand upon the current programming to include theatre, family events and a wide range of musical artists, including adult contemporary, classic rock, R&B, Latin and country. The Municipal Auditorium will appeal to the 18-35 demographic.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Riverside,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “This contract will provide Riverside with a world-class entertainment provider to match our world-class facilities.”
The contract for the Fox Theater takes effect Dec. 1, but Live Nation officials have indicated they will begin hiring staff and booking shows prior to that. The contract for the Municipal Auditorium takes effect March 1. Both contracts include two three-year renewal options.
Ben Weeden, chief operating officer for Live Nation’s House of Blues Entertainment division, said the company expects to announce within six weeks bookings for the Fox Theater for the first quarter of 2014.
“These are world-class venues, and we look forward to booking them, managing them and operating them as such,” Weeden said in remarks to the City Council.
Live Nation has extensive experience with operating such historic venues, including the Hollywood Palladium, The Wiltern in Los Angeles and The Fillmore in San Francisco. The company produces more than 6,000 shows at 70 venues worldwide each year. The Riverside contract calls for Live Nation to specifically provide shows that appeal to families, multicultural audiences and youth.
Live Nation plans to partner with Wolfgang Puck to provide concessions at the two venues. Under the terms of the contract, Riverside will retain the revenues from the concession sales.
The Fox Theater re-opened in 2010 following a $32 million renovation. The historic theater, which was the site of the first showing of “Gone with the Wind,” has hosted live theater, music, and other entertainment since re-opening, but Riverside officials and Live Nation both believe the historic theater can host more events and be even more of a community resource.