Can the city of Los Angeles self-operate the Greek Theatre? The Department of Recreation and Parks is currently weighing a proposal to run the shed on its own after RAP threw out bids from Live Nation and AEG/Nederlander.
Self operation is rare in the amphitheater world. If you look at the top 50 amphitheaters ranked by Pollstar, over half of them are owned and/or operated by Live Nation, while many others are managed by indie promoters. The Hollywood Bowl is owned by the county of LA but managed by the LA Phil while the other Greek Theatre, the one up north in Berkeley, has a booking agreement with Another Planet Entertainment. AEG, SMG, I.M.P. and even Q Prime all manage and/or own amphitheaters.
Only a small number of sheds are self-operated by non-profit groups, cities and/or counties. So what does self-operation really look like? Below are the top ten self-operated amphitheaters in North America based on their ranking on the Pollstar 2014 Year End Worldwide Ticket Sales Top 100 Amphitheatre Venues chart. We didn’t include any venues operated by a national promoter or a local promoter, and we only charted open buildings. Facilities with an exclusive or preferred booking agreement with either AEG, Live Nation or an independent promoter were not counted.
1. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colo.
Photo by David Amirault / CC BY
Owned and operated by Denver Arts & Venues, a city and county agency
2014 Tickets Sold: 601,230
Pollstar Ranking (1)
Greek Theatre, Los Angeles
We know the Greek Theatre doesn’t belong on this chart — it’s owned by the city of LA and operated by Nederlander Concerts. But for comparison purposes we thought we’d give readers and idea of where the Greek fits in with other sheds.
2014 Tickets Sold 331,467
Pollstar Ranking (5)
2. Filene Center at Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va.
Owned and operated by U.S. National Park Service and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
2014 Tickets Sold 317,698
Pollstar Ranking (7)
3. Riverbend Music Center, Cincinati
Owned and operated by Music & Event Mgmt Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
2014 Tickets Sold: 306,122
Pollstar Ranking (10)
4. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Woodstock, NY
The amphitheater is on the same site as the original 1969 Woodstock Festival and purchased in 1996 by billionaire Alan Gerry. The amphitheater is now owned and operated as its own 501(c) (3) public charity
2014 Tickets Sold: 210,614
Pollstar Ranking (22)
5. Meadowbrook in Gilford, N.H.
Photo from Facebook
Meadowbrook was originally a family-owned farm and is now owned and operated by Meadowbrook Farm LLC.
2014 Tickets Sold: 110,231
Pollstar Ranking (47)
6. St. Augustine Amphitheatre, St Augustine, Fla.
The Amphitheatre is owned and managed by the St. Johns County Parks & Recreation department,
2014 Tickets Sold: 100,696
Pollstar Ranking (51)
7. Fraze Pavilion, Kettering, Ohio
Fraze Pavilion is owned and operated by the city of Kettering
2014 Tickets Sold: 98,212
Pollstar Ranking (52)
8. Ravinia Festival at Ravinia Park
Ravinia is owned and operated by the Ravinia Festival non-profit group.
2014 Tickets Sold: 70,366
Pollstar Ranking (61)
9. Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, Maine
Owned by the city of Bangor and managed by the city’s in-house promotions company Waterfront Concerts
2014 Tickets Sold: 44,419
Pollstar Ranking (74)
10. Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn, NY
Photo by Bowery Presents
Owned and operated by the Brooklyn Information and Culture, a non-profit which later changed its name to BRIC
2014 Tickets Sold: 44,241
Pollstar Ranking (75)