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‘Big Game Bash’ Plans Put on Pause; Maple Grove City Council Tables Contract Agreement

Oct 13, 2017 07:26AM ● Published by Wendy Erlien

Maple Grove Government Center

A request to officially move forward with an agreement with a contractor to plan a “Big Game Bash” Concert in February 2018 was paused by the Maple Grove City Council at the Oct. 2 meeting and tabled to be heard again Monday, Oct. 16.

“The proposed main event is a live concert under a heated tent on the Central Park great lawn,” according to a memo presented to the council, for the evening of Saturday, Feb. 3.      

“Additional family events are being planned a few days prior and leading up to the concert as well, including a children’s band earlier in the day on Saturday,” city staff commented in the memo. “The intent is not to compete with the numerous events that will be happening that week/weekend in downtown Minneapolis and around the metro area, but to offer a local alternative to those that live in and are visiting the northwest metro.”

The proposed contractor, Sue McLean & Associates (SMA), would book the talent, marketing, ticketing, solicit sponsorships, and event logistics.

An agreement with SMA was presented at the Maple Grove City Council Oct. 2 meeting for approval after work by a planning committee consisting of representatives from the city of Maple Grove, Maple Grove Parks and Recreation, North Hennepin Chamber of Commerce, Maple Grove Community Organization, Arbor Lakes Business Association, Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, and The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.

“SMA has a very positive track record of delivering great live concert events, including the Music in the Zoo concert series and Live at the Hilde in Plymouth,” staff wrote in the Oct. 2 memo. “They have the expertise and knowledge in producing this type of event, as well as access to thousands of potential customers.”

The budget for the event, according to Maple Grove Economic Development Manager Carie Wille was “overly conservative” in estimating the expenditures. According to documents provided to the council, total estimated expenditures for the ‘Big Game Bash’ event are $253,550 - with estimated revenue $210,000.

Councilmember Judy Hanson questioned what would happen if the event was cancelled and could not go forward – citing weather or other factors. The city attorney talked about a termination provision that should be added.

Councilmember Karen Jaeger questioned whether insurance was provided. The city attorney responded liability insurance was covered, event cancellation it was not.

“The cost is a little more than we thought,” Councilmember Phil Leith commented. “If the event gets canceled for some reason – what are we on the hook for?”  Leith stated the proposed event was the same day as the Polar Plunge in Maple Grove and mentioned if staff (such as police and reserves) were involved in that event during the day, “I can’t see them helping out at night.”

“I have some questions about the staffing…that would be a lot to put on those people,” Leith said.

“Right now, I’m hearing we have a lot of unknowns. I’m wondering if we should table this for further investigation,” Jaeger said.

Hanson added further comments about other concerns such as parking, climate, and staffing.

Councilmember Kristy Barnett thanked staff for their work in planning and added her concerns, “in addition to what everyone else was talking about” was termination dates related to ticket sales, not the weather.

“I could potentially see that as a public relations nightmare to sell something to the residents and then say we cancel. I want to make sure we have a plan in place…how we would address it and put our best foot forward…and represent ourselves well,” Barnett said.

After further discussion, the Maple Grove City Council tabled voting on the agreement with Sue McLean & Associates for Big Game Bash concert production until the Monday, Oct. 16 meeting. 

Oct. 2 Maple Grove City Council Meeting

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