Petition gains traction against proposed Live Nation music venues in Deer District
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As two new Milwaukee music venues inch through the approval process, historic theaters and residents are voicing their concerns.
The two venues are proposed by Frank Productions, a Wisconsin subsidiary of Live Nation/Ticketmaster. They would be a part of the Bucks' Deer District.
The venues would hold about 4,850 concert-goers, a similar capacity to other small venues in the city.
Design approvals were submitted last month, and this month, existing venues are making their opposition heard through a petition.
The petition is created by "Save MKE's Music Scene," a coalition of partnering independent venues throughout the city.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it has received over 2,500 signatures against the Live Nation proposal.
"People in Milwaukee are passionate about their independent music venues," said Craig Peterson, spokesperson for the coalition.
The new venue promises 135 shows a year, which concerns historic venues that rely on booking gigs.
"Those are shows that otherwise would be going to the Pabst, the Riverside, Colectivo's Back Room, Cactus Club. Now they'd be going to one venue. What this means is that those other venues, they're going to go out of business," Peterson said.
Just across the street from the proposed site, Milwaukee's historic Turner Hall is voicing their opposition.
"For almost 170 years we have provided opportunities for folks in Milwaukee to engage, and we don't want the largest source of our revenue, which is the ballroom, to be cannibalized," said Emilio De Torre, executive director of Milwaukee Turners. "How are you going to guarantee that our revenue is not going to dry up when an incredibly powerful and large multi-million-dollar organization is going to come in and set up shop immediately across the street?"
Frank Productions, the company leading the project, sees a very different outlook for the city's entertainment industry.
"What we see in cities across the country, when new venues are built, is that a rising tide lifts all boats," said CEO Joel Plant.
Plant notes that the city is in need of modernized venues.
"Milwaukee needs to compete with other cities, other Midwest cities, to attract these touring artists, and these rooms will allow it to do that," Plant said.
There is a Planning Commission meeting regarding the new venues on Monday, Sept. 26. Several historic theater representatives are planning to attend.