When the schedule for the 2003 Summer City Fest concert series was announced in the spring, folks at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Jumpin’ series discovered the band scheduled to perform July 24 in its sculpture garden also was slated to play during the Summer City Fest concert series. Jumpin’ had booked the band first.
Zydeco fusion artist Terrance Simien was to play twice, July 13 and 14, at the CityCelebrations gig that used to be the Big Gig. Likewise, he was supposed to jam Jumpin’ two weeks later. But organizers have bumped him.
“We did a switcheroo,” says Suzanne Hall, marketing and public affairs manager for the museum. After all, by the time Simien would have hit the $10-to-get-in sculpture garden, already he would have performed two free concerts in Richmond.
“It’s clearly just a scheduling problem,” Hall says. “He had more than one booking agent and they didn’t communicate with each other.” According to Hall, Jumpin’ organizers didn’t want to bring in a band that concertgoers already had heard. And since Summer City Fest had invested more, she says, Jumpin’ chose to give up Simien. Taking his place is the popular Celtic band Lenahan, which has played Jumpin’ previously.
More than ever, Hall points out, outdoor concert series must vie for musicians and audiences. Still, because Richmond has embraced them, she says, “There’s room for everybody.”
Just not lots of room. “It was an unfortunate situation,” Cynthia Simien says from her home in Lafayette, La., about how Jumpin’ canceled the gig. She’s Simien’s wife and personal manager. She acknowledges the museum booked the concert first but says she was surprised when it canceled because Simien was scheduled to appear elsewhere in Richmond first. What’s more, she says that organizers told her the decision to pull Simien was the result of “an internal power struggle” at the museum and that some there are upset the show was thwarted.
It’s not Simien’s first time in Richmond. He has played for the Science Museum of Virginia’s Swingin’ on the Tracks fall concert series. “Richmond’s one of our favorites,” Cynthia Simien says. “There’s a real affair for Terrance in Virginia.” That’s why she pushed for CityCelebrations to book him for City Summer Fest, to win him even more exposure in the area.
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