First series of XPR Augusta concerts scheduled for Masters Week likely canceled

All signs point to a new set of Masters Week concerts being canceled after construction issues were reported at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The XPR Augusta website said Thursday that all ticket sales were suspended and existing ticket holders would be notified “of any event changes.”

The series, produced by Los Vegas event producer C4 Live, was slated to feature Blake Shelton and Nelly, Tim McGraw and Pitbull and Jimmy Buffett at three concerts on April 6, 7 and 8. Each included luxury VIP sections and top-notch catering. intended to appeal to visitors to the Masters Tournament.

But two weeks ago, C4 Live said construction of a temporary stage and VIP area had to be halted due to unstable ground.

Company spokespersons have not returned requests for comment since then.

Continued:Lake Olmstead Stadium renovation ahead of schedule, official says

Continued:Lake Olmstead Stadium redoes tough month away from new series of Masters Week events

The Augusta Economic Development Authority had sublet the former city-owned Augusta GreenJackets Stadium to C4 Live in 2020 after approximately five months of contract negotiations.

EDA executive director Cal Wray said Wednesday that the shows were unlikely to take place this year, due to security concerns.

“I’m not holding my breath for this year, just because we’re 2 1/2 weeks away,” Wray said. “It’s a matter of security. I know I would rather it be postponed to next year and the security be ok, the venue be ok and the event be exceptional, than to have an event average and dangerous the first year.”

Any concert accident could be deadly, and Wray said the Astroworld festival in Houston is still fresh in mind. At least 10 people were killed in a crowd surge on November 5.

An aerial view of Lake Olmstead Stadium shows plenty of additional entertainment areas for activities such as dining and mini golf.  The Augusta Commission in January 2020 approved C4 Live to complete a $1.7 million stadium renovation.

The danger at Olmstead is the ability of the ground to support the large stage structures and VIP areas that C4 were building in the stadium, he said.

Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason recently reflected on why the issues weren’t revealed until a month before the Masters Tournament.

Continued:The company will not hold the 2020 Masters Week concert

This is not the first time that the stability of the ground has been questioned. During the 2019 Papa Joe’s Banjo-BQ music festival, a truck was observed sinking into the dirt, according to Wray.

EDA’s contract with C4 gives the firm access to the stadium 80 days a year for 10 years. In return, C4 would invest $1.7-2 million over three years for capital improvements that would become city property.

It didn’t include any requirement that C4 provide a certain variety or number of performances, he said.

Continued:Rock Forward! Dough returns live April 5 with Darius Rucker, Jordan Davis, Ray Fulcher

The Augusta government had “played no planning role” in the C4 deal, Wray said. The lease was for the property “as is”, and the city has no responsibility for concerts not held there.

“The whole situation is unfortunate for everyone, including C4, because they have millions of dollars tied up,” Wray said.

Two unrelated Masters Week events are set to return. Rock Forward! Dough, the 18th annual fundraising concert for First Tee Augusta which will feature Darius Rucker, Jordan Davis and Ray Fulcher as well as Lady A’s Charles Kelley, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at the Lady A Pavilion in Evans Town Center Park . Tickets are available at rockforedough.com.

Tickets are also on sale for the Major Rager to be held Saturday, April 9 at the Sharon Jones Amphitheater next to SRP Park in North Augusta. The concert, a Masters Week offering since 2014, will feature Athens-based rock band Future Birds and opening act Easy Amused. Tickets start at $30 at fwbpro.com.

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