Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Make other plans for Halloween in Las Vegas: The annual Vegoose Music Festival will not be presented this year. Not at the end of October or any other time. (See the latest update on Wednesday's Culture blog. )
“We’re not doing it,” Daren Libonati, director of UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium, said Monday. “(Vegoose producers) are still trying to figure out what we’re going to do or not do, but it doesn’t look like we’re going in that direction.” The event still appears on the roster of upcoming events at LasVegasEvents.com; the Vegoose.com Web site has not been updated with information for 2008.
Libonati and Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, were instrumental in the creation of the two-day festival, which since 2005 has brought such artists as the Killers, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, Cat Power and Jack Johnson to Vegas for daytime shows at Sam Boyd Stadium and the adjacent Star Nursery Field. These were followed by evening shows and after-parties at various Vegas venues, including the Aladdin Theater, the Orleans Arena, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.
The autumn event extended the traditional summer concert season, with the added novelty of a Halloween-in-Vegas atmosphere — past activities and attractions included costumed concertgoers, an Impersonators Cafe, a wedding chapel and the festival’s signature, the Great Evil Pumpkin.
But the fundamental goal of Vegoose was to boost tourism and business during a traditionally flat period for gaming properties in Las Vegas. Libonati and Christenson were optimistic about the music festival they hoped would become an annual signature event for the city.
It seemed to work at first. According to a post-event analysis compiled by R&R Partners, a Las Vegas-based advertising and public relations company, the first Vegoose brought 36,825 visitors to the city, with an estimated economic impact of $37.3 million, $30.4 million of which came from nongaming revenue. The report noted that 16 percent of the out-of-state attendees made their first trip to Las Vegas for Vegoose.
Two-day attendance in 2006 was down more than 50 percent, with a gate of 30,625, from 72,400 in 2005. Attendance in 2007 was 46,200, according to Las Vegas Events.
Vegoose is co-produced by New York-based Superfly Productions and Knoxville, Tenn.-based A.C. Entertainment, the partnership behind Tennessee’s annual four-day Bonnaroo Music Festival, which was approached by Libonati and Christenson to customize Bonnaroo for Vegas. The producers did not return phone calls by press time.