ATLANTIC CITY — Sorry, y’all. It may not be all country music this year.
Last summer, country stars Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum headlined two massive concerts that drew 120,000 music fans to the beachfront and provided a huge boost to the tourist-dependent local economy.
Jeff Guaracino, executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance, the marketing arm that is organizing two more beachfront megaconcerts for this August, said one show will probably feature country music while the other likely will be pop.
Negotiations have started with performers, but the acts and the dates for both shows are not expected to be announced until after Memorial Day, Guaracino said.
“They will be fabulous. They will be great,” he said in an interview Monday. “It is another good thing for the Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore.”
The alliance, the casino-funded marketing group that created the widely publicized “Do AC” advertising campaign in 2012, is promoting Atlantic City as the “Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore” for this summer’s tourist season.
With characteristic enthusiasm for the coming summer, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian declared the city to be the “entertainment capital of the Jersey Shore” Tuesday.
The beachfront concerts will highlight a $1.3 million summer entertainment lineup funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the state agency that oversees Atlantic City tourism and redevelopment projects. Fourth of July fireworks and the annual Atlantic City Airshow are two other major events.
John Palmieri, the CRDA’s executive director, said $1 million of the $1.3 million entertainment budget will go toward the beach concerts. The CRDA is the primary sponsor of the concerts this summer because the alliance remains in limbo.
An Atlantic City economic recovery plan, awaiting a final vote in the state Legislature, would divert the alliance’s $30 million annual budget to the financially troubled city over the next two years to help stabilize its dwindling tax base. If the plan is approved, the alliance will be phased out.
In the meantime, the alliance continues to market and promote the city, including overseeing the planning for the beach concerts. Guaracino said both concerts will be held in August to fill a void created by the airshow’s shift to Sept. 2 this year.
One concert likely will be free, while the other may have paid admission, Guaracino said, without specifying which show would have ticket sales. Last year, both beachfront concerts were free.
With summer concerts gearing back up at Boardwalk Hall — like Friday’s Florida Georgia Line performance — operators of the Atlantic City venue are bringing back their pre-concert parties.
Similar to last summer’s shows, both concerts are expected to attract big crowds. The Shelton and Lady Antebellum concerts each drew 60,000 people. Guaracino estimated the concerts this summer should each draw 50,000 people.
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