Shortly after 10:00 this evening, the City Council voted to rescind its agreement with Waterfront Concerts for concerts this summer on the Maine State Pier. Rather, the Council voted to transfer the agreement to Live Nation to produce the concerts. The vote to transfer the agreement to Live Nation was 8 – 1. Mayor Ethan Strimling was the one dissenting vote. Bob Duteau, VP of Live Nation, told the council that he was continuing to work with Alex Gray and would continue to work with him to arrange concerts. That continued working relationship with Gray was the reason for the Mayor’s single dissenting vote.
The decision by the long-winded Council came following several hours of pubic testimony and justification for their February votes by City Councilors – in a few cases way too much justification for their votes – much more than the public needed to know. The public did not need to know the contents of several telephone conversations that District 1 City Councilor Belinda Ray had with her out-of-town son that helped her arrive at her decision. Spare us! Please spare us the boring details, councilors! This includes “Media” Mavadones as well!
On February 5, 2018, the city council approved Waterfront Concerts to rent the Maine State Pier for another summer of concerts. Prior to that date, Alex Gray, Waterfront Concerts owner, was charged with and pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence assault. Then on April 1, 2018, Cole, who Gray assaulted, emailed the city manager and described her assault by Gray. Cole met with the city manager recently and the Mayor as well.
“Before you voted to continue your relationship with Waterfront Concerts in this past February’s city council meeting, John Dow, who represented the company, declared that ‘There’s far more than Alex with the company.” I agree with Mr. Dow and I would like to expand on that,” Erica Cole, a former Portland resident, told the city council.
Cole went on to explain that following the arrest of Alex Gray, a Waterfront Concerts employee broke into her password-protected computer and destroyed personal and professional documents, under Gray’s direction. The employee recently met with the DA’s office to explain his behavior before her files were returned to her. Cole now lives in Massachusetts.
Most of the people attending the city council meeting turned out to be Waterfront Concerts employees and many of them testified before the Council not to rescind the contract with their employees. They testified about the significant economic implications for the employees of Alex Gray, d/a/a Waterfront Concerts. John Dow, general manager of Waterfront Concerts, and a resident of Munjoy Hill, said he learned a lot from Gray. “He’s the calmest person in the room. If I really believed the charges against him, I would leave the company.”
Bob Duteau, of Live Nation, said that twelve (12) concerts had been planned for this year and there may be more coming. Five thousand (5,000) tickets have been sold to date for those concerts on Maine State Pier. Duteau also promised the city council that Alex Gray would not be permitted on the Maine State Pier at any time nor would his employees be involved. Duteau said he could bring his Boston staff up to do the concerts and “eliminate Alex Gray.” LIve Nation is an events promoter with headquarters in California. It was founded in 1996.
In the past, noise from the concerts on the Pier has been an issue for some Munjoy Hill residents. However, the subject of noise abatement was not addressed at the meeting tonight. Why didn’t Councilor for District 1 Belinda Ray bring up the subject?
Finally, Duteau told the council that his company is quite generous to charitable non-profits and he assured Councilor Duson that the company would explore how to financially benefit victims’ associations in the future. Perhaps Live Nation could add $1.00 to the price of a ticket for a charitable donation. The company has a precedent for this commitment to charities.
Following the city council meeting around 10:40 pm., employees of Waterfront Concerts gathered in the lobby of city hall. They appeared unfazed by the city council’s decision. One employee told this blogger the group was preparing to go on to its next venue in Rhode Island. We have venues all over the place, he told this blogger.