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Kinnick 'Back Porch Revival' concert press-box sales to reimburse University of Iowa costs

'This is not going to cost the university a dime'

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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa and several subcontractors projected their costs for supporting last month’s first-ever Kinnick Stadium concert would top $230,785, according to a lease agreement with the event’s promoter.

Two weeks since the Back Porch Revival concert, which drew a crowd of more than 44,000, the university is continuing to reconcile its actual expenses. Regardless, according to UI Associate Athletics Director Mark Jennings, the university’s costs are to be covered through promoter reimbursements and press-box sales, which the university handled.

“We did that, and we have that money sitting in our coffers,” Jennings said. “So we are not too worried about it, because we are sitting on a good pile of money.”

In crafting the lease agreement with Basis Marketing Inc. of Forest City, Jennings said university officials “guesstimated” a budget by combining typical costs for hosting day and night games at Kinnick.

“We had never done it before, so nobody knew,” he said. “The budget we put together was really just a shot in the dark, a best estimate at what this might cost us.”

The estimated expenses included $119,806 for UI Department of Public Safety support, nearly $89,774 for Whelan Security services, $8,160 for UI Hospitals and Clinics emergency aid and $6,440 for university parking assistance.

The total didn’t include anticipated university incurred costs for cleanup, potential maintenance and portable toilets. According to the agreement, the university is to provide an invoice “reflecting the actual charges.”

“Those are still coming in,” Jennings said. “It’s only been two weeks.”

The event — in total — sold about 50,000 tickets at $39 each, meaning more than $1.9 million in ticket revenue. The university handled the sale of about 1,750 press-box tickets at $100 apiece, generating $175,000 in revenue that is being used to cover university expenses, Jennings said.

Basis Marketing is to reimburse the university for the balance.

“This is not going to cost the university a dime,” Jennings said.

Organizers have said concert proceeds go to The Native Fund, a new non-profit dreamed up by Hawkeye All-American and former pro football player Dallas Clark and actor Ashton Kutcher. The Native Fund mission involves raising money and organizing resources to help Iowans — including those hit by natural disaster, post-Sept. 11 veterans needing assistance and children with “life-threatening illness or disease.”

Organizers have not said how much money they hope to raise for The Native Fund once bills are paid. They’ve also declined to say how much went toward staging the show — which included performances by country music stars Blake Shelton, Big and Rich and Thomas Rhett.

The UI lease agreement allowed Basis Marketing to use Kinnick Stadium — including its concourses, locker rooms, football field, and surrounding parking lots — Aug. 20-30 for $1. It required Basis to obtain and maintain insurance coverage, including not less than $5 million per occurrence in commercial general liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage.

Basis, through the agreement, asked UI to “provide cleaning and janitorial services following the event” to be charged at an hourly rate.

Although this year’s concert budget was largely a guess, Jennings said, “Next time we will have a lot better handle on what it’s going to cost.” And, Jennings added, he wants there to be a next time.

“I hope that we continue to have concerts in Kinnick, especially if we use the money for a great cause like we did for The Native Fund,” he said.

Within a week or two, Jennings said, the UI committee that collaborated on the Kinnick concert plans to sit down to mull the pros and cons.

“But I don’t think there were many negatives,” he said.

One thing that likely would change in the event of a future concert, Jennings said, is the date and its proximity to the start of football season. This first concert was Aug. 27 — a week before the Hawkeyes kicked off their season in Kinnick on Sept. 3.

“We would never have a concert the week before football season,” Jennings said. “That really put a stretch on the athletic department staff.”

Dallas Clark pitched the August concert as a way to kick off the football season, Jennings said. But, because Kinnick doesn’t have an easy path to its field, promoters had to use cranes to take everything in and out — requiring tremendous expense and manpower.

“Luckily people worked very hard and around the clock to get it ready for football season,” Jennings said.

The six-performer lineup, which started at 3 p.m. and wrapped at 11 p.m., also might have been too much.

“It was a long day,” Jennings said.

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