Music festivals in downtown St. Louis on the scale of Lollapalooza are about to become a reality.
The city's Board of Aldermen on Monday approved the measure that sets aside Memorial and Labor Day weekends for the music festivals. Mayor Francis Slay is expected to sign the bill and as soon as he does, Los Angeles-based ICM Partners can start negotiating for talent and financing.
“Today’s vote marks an important milestone in bringing world-class festivals to St. Louis to create vibrant new music experiences in the region," ICM said in a statement. "With the backdrop of the historic Gateway Arch and the shores of the Mississippi River, the festivals will bring together top-tier music acts from a variety of genres with local musicians, who are an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city. St. Louis is steeped in rich culture and history, and we are excited to partner with the city to further grow its reputation as an iconic music destination."
Supporters had originally hoped to pass the bill in March, which would have given ICM the chance to produce a show for this Labor Day. But a delay in the committee vote made that impossible. Lawmakers were upset with the terms of the initial agreement that ICM put forward which had a non-compete clause that seemed to shut out other music festivals.
After lengthy debate, the Board of Alderman hammered out a new non-compete clause that essentially blocks any other music festival that is of similar size and scale from taking place in St. Louis between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Very few shows meet that criteria. Also, established festivals like LouFest, Live on the Levee, Big Muddy Blues Festival and Fair St. Louis were grandfathered into the bill.
The Board of Aldermen went on spring break in mid-March after giving preliminary approval to the measure.
But even with the delay several lawmakers felt that the bill had been rushed. First Ward Ald. Sharon Tyus said there wasn't enough time to convince her that the bill was good legislation.
"I think this is has been a rushed piece of legislation," she said. "People have used anything they could to get it done, and that is not good legislation. We have a responsibility to try to bring the best legislation we can, and it has to be fair, and it has to be honest, and we have to be represented."
Here's the vote:
- Ayes (21) - Flowers, Bosley, Ingrassia, Young, Conway, Ortmann, Vollmer, Arnowitz, Howard, Florida, Baringer, Roddy, Schmid, French, Boyd, Cohn, Williamson, Carter, Krewson, Reed.
- Nays (4) - Tyus, Villa, Kennedy, Vaccaro
- Present (1) - Moore
Aldermen Scott Ogilvie and Tammika Hubbard were not at today's meeting. The seat for the 13th Ward is currently vacant.
Here is a look at some of the other action the Board of Aldermen took on its last day of the 2013-2014 session.
- Approved a redevelopment agreement for a mixed-use building at the site of the old American Heart Association building at Euclid and Lindell in the Central West End.
- Approved a measure that gives the city an additional tool to address "demolition by neglect" of architecturally significant buildings when the owners allow them to deteriorate.
- Approved legislation that requires the owner of a property that's been deemed a nuisance to provide the Department of Public Safety a list of all of the occupants of the building. Failure to comply could result in fines or jail time.
- Took no action on a measure that would have blocked anyone under the age of 12 from lingering on playground equipment.
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann