Lighting Display Pulls Plug on Frampton Concert at Oval Park

Peter Frampton
Peter Frampton

The August 29th Frampton’s Guitar Circus concert, which would have brought Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy and Randy Bachman to town to perform at a revitalized Oval Park in Visalia, was cancelled the week before it was to happen, an apparent victim of staging logistics.

“Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus performance at Oval Park in Visalia, CA on Friday, August 29th, 2014, has been cancelled due to unforeseen logistical circumstances,” wrote Ryan Stillwater, Visalia Rescue Mission’s Oval Venue coordinator, in a release. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The release went on to state that all tickets for Frampton’s Guitar Circus would be refunded in full at their original point of purchase.

“I think that with everything, this was a house of cards that got blown over,” said Stillwater, who was asked what really caused the cancellation. “There were logistical issues, as the press release said. It wasn’t a farce.

“It was definitely a mutually agreeable cancellation,” he said, adding that ticket sales were not a factor. There were 516 tickets sold at the time of cancellation.

The concert was booked in January, according to Stillwater. This is when the original contract was signed. Stillwater received a rider with new provisions to that contract in July.

“We did know he was bringing an LED wall, but what was left in the air was what it required to accommodate that specifically, like needing a load-bearing roof instead of just a shade structure.”

The size of the LED wall also required a larger stage, which threatened trees in the park, and significantly increased expenses.

“When these things came into play, we did our best to accommodate them,” said Stillwater, adding that every show has its own unique requirements. “Some are more flexible than others, but the overall design of the (Frampton) tour required some stuff that was non-negotiable for them. We wanted it to be a professional show, but at the same time we would have been over budget.”

The cancellation was apparently not a response to Frampton’s concerns about the venue. “Frampton’s agent knew it was a city park,” said Stillwater. “We never said Oval Park was ideal. There are trees, tables, a gazebo.”

According to Stillwater’s release announcing the cancellation, “Frampton along with the other performers, Buddy Guy and Randy Bachman, will make a donation to support the ongoing efforts of the mission.”

“I think it’s a very nice gesture,” said Stillwater, adding that he didn’t know the amount of the donations. “They are under no obligation to make any donation, but I think that speaks to the caliber of persons they are.”

Stillwater is “not in any way bitter or disheartened” after the concert cancellation.

“Everything we set out to do we did,” he said. “People are thinking differently about the park. Peter Frampton was never a means to an end. The mission goes on. Frampton wasn’t the finale.”

The Visalia Rescue Mission’s commitment to the Oval Park community continues and future events are being planned at the park. John Mark McMillan, a Christian singer-songwriter and worship leader from North Carolina who has appeared at local churches and The Cellar Door in Visalia, will perform a free concert at Oval Park on Thursday, October 23rd. Some logistics, such as fencing, are yet to be worked out.

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