Concert would bring together Dylan, Nelson
By JIM AUSTIN
The board of trustees agreed last Thursday to pursue a proposal that would
bring Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson to Cooperstown in August for a concert at
The Cooperstown show would kick off a tour of 20 to 30 minor league
baseball stadiums by the pair of music industry icons.
The proposal was introduced by Jeff Idelson of the Hall of Fame, although
the institution is not connected to the event.
Idelson was acting as the liaison between the village and the organizer
because of personal and professional relationship he has with them.
The organizer of the tour is the Goldklang Group, the owner of six minor
league teams in New York, Florida, Minnesota, South Dakota, Massachusetts
and South Carolina. One of the group's partners is Marvin Goldklang, a part
owner of the New York Yankees.
"He and his team have a gold plated reputation. We have engaged in three
promotions with their teams," Idelson said.
The promoter of the event would be Jam Productions, who he described as
having vast experience in running outdoor concerts.
"Cooperstown is a cultural icon because of baseball. It is slowly becoming
more than that because of the arts. This would be a terrific chance to meld
the two. It would also add to the mindset of local residents and people
nationally that we are a serious multi-cultural destination," Idelson told
He introduced Tom Whaley, the executive vice-president for business
development for the St. Paul Saints, one of the teams owned by the
Whaley explained that in talking with Dylan following a performance in St.
Paul two weeks ago, he suggested beginning the tour in Cooperstown.
"We would love to come and start the tour in Cooperstown. It makes perfect
sense," he said. "There are some negatives, but we have found them to be
positive events in communities where we have done shows."
Whaley toured the field earlier in the day with head groundskeeper Joe
Harris to get a look at the stadium and get a better idea of what they
would have to work with.
The date they are looking at for the three to three-and-a-half hour show is
Friday, August 6, and Whaley said the promoter would like a day on each
side of the date to insure adequate time for set up and tear down. The
promoter prefers evening show and would bring in portable lights and
"The promoter is willing to deal with those issues because of where it is,"
Harris said those dates are currently already booked for teams to play at
the field, but it may be possible to rearrange the schedule.
"If we could get two games in on Thursday it would give them that night and
the next day." Harris said. "It would help us tremendously if we could have
the field back at noon Saturday, I think we could come up with a workable
Howard Talbot, a member of the Doubleday Field committee, asked about what
would happen if it rains.
"We would do it rain or shine. You can get the show in," Whaley said.
But, he added, rain the day before would be the worst case scenario. "There
would be some turf issues," he said.
The stage would be set up on the outfield warning track in center or left
field with festival-style seating on the outfield grass.
Whaley said the promoter takes care to minimize the wear and tear on the
field and usually doesn't allow chairs.
There are some negative aspects to the concert, Whaley said.
"It is, by nature, disruptive if you don't do it alot," he said.
It is, he said, a concert with amplified music and it puts strains on
traffic around the site.
Doubleday Field is located in a very residential, he said, and there's not
much that can be done about the noise, except to try and direct out toward
Talbot said he worried about not just the impact on the field, but also the
impact on Susquehanna Avenue residents.
"You will have a some people unhappy with you for doing it," Whaley
"For myself, it wouldn't bother me," said trustee Lee Malone, who lives
right behind the field on Susquehanna Avenue. I live right on the field. I
have family that would love it."
Whaley said the concert would impact outfield grass, but that
groundskeepers had developed a program that begins three to four days ahead
and continues after the concert to prepare and care for the turf.
A crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 persons would be expected at Doubleday Field at
a ticket price in the neighborhood of $40, Whaley said.
Typically, the artists and promoters would share in the revenue from ticket
and merchandise sales. The village, he explained, would receive the revenue
from concession sales at the concert which could be expected to average $5
to $6 per person.
During the meeting, trustees talked about turning concessions over to a
not-for-profit group like the fire department.
Trustee Stu Taugher, the chairman of the Doubleday Field committee made to
the motion to continue to investigate the possibility of hosting the
Whaley told the board they would need to have a commitment from the village
within the next two weeks.