Zumwalt Amphitheater begins booking talent

Tulare City Council approves, enters an agreement with Spade Entertainment for the operations of Zumwalt Amphitheater

TULARE – After a year of planning, Tulare City Council is one step closer to bringing live entertainment onto the stage of the Zumwalt amphitheater.

On Dec. 6, Tulare City Council members agreed to a term sheet entering into an operating agreement with Spade Entertainment to serve as the operator of the Zumwalt amphitheater. After advertising a request for proposal (RFP) for an operator and reaching out to seven firms, the city received a response from Spade Entertainment, out of Folsom, Calif. As council agreed to the term sheet, the producers are now able to be on the lookout for talent with the intent to book them at the Zumwalt Amphitheater. 

“Our goal is always family experience. We love to see families, we love to see kids,” Todd Spellman, owner of Spade Entertainment, said during the council meeting. “Our greatest joy is sitting backstage and looking at the audience and just seeing families and just having a really good time.”

By agreeing to the terms at the meeting, not only will Spade Entertainment be able to begin their search for talent, they will be able to have input on the complete design of the amphitheater. According to city manager Marc Mondell, the drawings for the amphitheater will be completed sometime in January, allowing for the group to throw in their input on the completed design. 

“It is good to have them on board to get some of their advice in terms of the final design, if there’s anything we’re missing, from a technical perspective,” Mondell said. 

The term sheet the council agreed to is essentially a tentative agreement as to what the contract between the city and the entertainment group will look like. Now that the city has agreed to the initial terms, the finalized contract will come back to council within one to three months according to deputy city manager Josh McDonnell.

As it stands now, the city has agreed to a three-year agreement with a three-year option to renew. Additionally, the operator will schedule 15 events for the first year and more in subsequent years. The city will pay the operator $100,000 for the first year and $75,000 in subsequent years for all aspects of marketing  and management for the venue. The city will be responsible for security deposits of $150,000 for each year of the agreement for the ability to book talent; in turn the operator would reimburse the city 100% of booking fees. 

Additionally the operator will handle all aspects of food and beverage on site. And the operator will have commercial general liability insurance naming the city of Tulare as additional insured. 

The term sheet laid out that the city would collect one dollar for every ticket sold, and be responsible for collecting all parking revenue fees. The city will receive twenty percent of all sponsorship revenue collected after all costs, and they will also receive $1,000 for every private party rental that comes from the  operator. However, one area that council could not quite agree fully to was the revenue the city would receive from the purchase of a ticket. As a result it will be negotiated further before the contract is finalized. 

Spellman and his wife gave a presentation to council explaining all the ins and outs of their current successful operating amphitheaters. Currently, the couple works with the city of Rocklin, the city of Citrus Heights and the city of Sacramento. They produce a combined 70 shows a year at various locations and have over 25 years of experience in radio, special events and concert business. The Spellman’s explained that even though they love music, that is not the only form of live entertainment they host at their theaters. According to the staff report, Spade Entertainment strives to put “heads in beds at hotels and make your city a destination.”

“Our goal is to drive traffic to Tulare,” Spellman said. “Especially when we’re working with the city and that’s what their goal is too.” 

Spade Entertainment will provide a variety of entertainment, something for everyone in the community. Some examples of previous shows they have hosted range from live music, to ice skating rinks, to womens’ empowerment events, to comedy, speaker series and more. They have booked shows ranging from 1,000 to 18,000 and recently put on their first festival style concert. 

One thing Spellman said they really pride themselves on is their fan experience. They try to create the best experience for fans, and that includes having a clean venue, clean bathrooms, a safe and enjoyable atmosphere, ensuring ticket holders get their value, and treating ticket holders with respect and kindness.

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