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The Dave Matthews Band at the 2012 River's Edge Music Festival on Harriet Island in St. Paul.

Jeff Wheeler, Dml -

River's Edge Music Festival will skip 2013

  • Article by: JON BREAM
  • Star Tribune
  • January 28, 2013 - 6:59 PM

The big-budget River's Edge Music Festival, which revived rock on Harriet Island in St. Paul in 2012 with the Dave Matthews Band and Tool, will not be held as planned in 2013.

"Expenses for staging have gone through the roof, and there wasn't a significant enough pairing of artists to justify putting on events this year," said Mark Campana, co-president of Live Nation North America. "So River's Edge is on hiatus this year. Hopefully, we can come back next year."

After making a splashy debut complete with the mayor of St. Paul introducing bands onstage, Live Nation had been working on booking the second annual festival as part of a five-year commitment with St. Paul. But research after last year's inaugural $4.8 million festival -- which drew 45,000 to see 16 acts on four stages over two days -- determined that this event on the banks of the Mississippi River was not a regional draw, as anticipated.

"We weren't getting people from Green Bay and Fargo," Campana said. "This was a back-yard event, with the largest percentage coming from the Twin Cities.'

So Live Nation was planning accordingly for 2013, hoping for a combination of acts to draw between and 20,000 and 30,000 per day. Campana said Live Nation, in consultation with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's office, decided this month to put River's Edge on hold.

"We'd rather do a big event properly than scale back and turn it into a food festival," Campana said.

Live Nation plans to research how to incorporate electronic dance music into River's Edge and how to effectively utilize Raspberry Island, which is adjacent to the site and was used for a secondary stage in 2012.

River's Edge had been viewed as a high-profile, first-class replacement for the long-lived but musically inferior Taste of Minnesota, which went bankrupt in 2010 after a decade at Harriet Island.

Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoters, lost money -- probably $2 million -- on the inaugural River's Edge featuring Flaming Lips, Polica, Sublime and others, but viewed it as "an investment year."

In accordance with its contract with St. Paul, Live Nation will pay for the July 4 fireworks display on Harriet Island in 2013.

Twitter: @jonbream • 612-673-1719

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