Things got dramatic at today's meeting of the LA City Council Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee, where councilmembers debated which private firm they want to see take control of the Greek Theatre. This battle over a concessions contract has been unusually bitter and heated, with LA Live owner AEG going in with long-time operator Nederlander (of the Pantages Theatre) to fight newcomer/juggernaut Live Nation. The Board of Commissioners for the Department of Recreation and Parks recommended back in October that Live Nation take over, but the City Council and relevant committees still have to give its input, and today, in an unexpected reversal, the Arts, Parks, etc. committee denied Live Nation and embraced Nederlander/AEG, according to releases from both AEG and Live Nation. There were reportedly hundreds of people at the meeting, many in color-coded shirts in support of their team.
Both camps have very dedicated advocates. Nederlander's been running the Greek for 39 years, and many of the residents who live in the expensive houses close to the venue are freaked out about what fresh hell some new promoter might bring—super-loud music? A spike in jettisoned condoms in the area?—so they've thrown in their lot with Nederlander and AEG. Live Nation, though, has promised to lavish more money on upgrades to the 1929 open-air theater and performance space, including replacing some terraces in the theater with newer, more earthquake-resistant ones.
"We remain confident that the full City Council will be guided by the merits of our proposal – not the political strong-arm tactics of our opponent," Live Nation says in a statement, sort of hinting at the high tensions in the bid for the contract to run the Greek. The ball is now in the full City Council's court, although the ultimate decision will have to get the ok from the mayor too. Nederlander's current contract runs through October.
· Mega-Promoter Live Nation Picked to Take Over the Greek [Curbed LA]
· See the Competing Upgrade Plans for the Greek Theatre [Curbed LA]