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John Lamb, Published February 25 2014

School of rock: Fargo School District signs concert deal for Bluestem

FARGO – Events promoter Jade Presents has signed a three-year contract with Fargo Public Schools to produce concerts at the Imagine Amphitheatre at Bluestem Center for the Arts.

The deal gives the Fargo-based promoter exclusive rights to book touring shows at the south Moorhead facility and gives Fargo Public Schools at least $30,000 a year in rental fees.

Jade Presents is run by Jade Nielsen, who books shows at the Fargo Theatre and The Hub, as well as at venues across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Earlier this year, the company was ranked 81st on a list of the top 100 promoters worldwide.

“We don’t have many opportunities to see live music outdoors in the summer here,” Nielsen said about Bluestem’s outdoor stage, calling the space “a beautiful site with great amenities for the audience.”

According to the contract, Jade Presents agrees to produce at least four national touring events a year, paying $7,500 in rent per event. If the company books five or more, the rent drops to $5,500 after the fourth.

If Jade Presents fails to book four events, the company still pays $7,500 for each event less than four.

The rental rates go up $250 in 2015 and again in 2016, before the contract expires at the end of that year.

Jade Presents is responsible for security, traffic control and at least $1 million in insurance.

The company will also be responsible for concessions, including alcohol sales, with one exception: During July, Trollwood Performing Arts School may operate its own concessions stand. Trollwood’s main stage musical is held every July.

Fargo Public Schools does not get a cut from concessions or merchandise sales.

The arrangement dictates that the promoter will coordinate with Fargo Public Schools to avoid conflicts with Trollwood. Fargo Public Schools can also allow nonprofit charitable, religious and business groups to use Bluestem, as long as tickets are not sold to the public for profit. This means events like the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony’s annual Symphony Rocks concert can still be held at Bluestem.

Nielsen said he’s still working on the lineup, but expects at least six shows at Bluestem in 2014. He’ll announce a number of the acts, as well as additions to concessions at a news conference March 18.

“There will be acts from all different genres of music for younger and older crowds,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing and building upon the previous performance series,” Jeffrey Schatz, superintendent of Fargo Public Schools, said in a news release. “The 2014 season at Bluestem is shaping up to be the best yet!”

Jade Presents’ previous concerts at the facility include O.A.R. last summer, which drew 2,817, the largest crowd to date at the venue. Other shows included Trampled by Turtles, The Moody Blues, Sheryl Crow, Garrison Keillor, The Blenders and more.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533