Starfest's doom has seemed certain since news spread yesterday that the city of Plano had terminated its contract to lease Oak Point Park. Even if organizers were able to pull together a lineup last minute — missing contracts were the reason Plano backed out — they'd have to overcome a huge new obstacle: finding an affordable venue with only three weeks until the event.
That's why we were surprised to receive an email last night that may offer hope to the beleaguered festival. Chad Siewert, vice president of ticket operations for NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, asked for Starfest co-founder David Taylor's contact information because he's interested in hosting the festival. For free.
"I run a 150,000-square-foot space with three arenas inside that might could help save this thing," Siewert wrote via text message.
NYTEX hosted its first concert, the final show of Tripping Daisy's short-term reunion, in July. The venue's main purpose is ice hockey, but Siewert says it's trying to branch out into music and host a few concerts each summer.
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Despite the evident mismanagement of Starfest — which is also reportedly facing a lawsuit from a talent booker organizers worked with — Siewert seems hopeful that there are legitimate aspects to the festival that could still be salvaged. He suggested Starfest could be turned into a one-night event with a few artists.
"Let's be honest," he wrote. "The festival is a shit show. But if there is a way for me to bring people to my arena who have never been there and sell some beer then it could be worth it. Plus honestly I need to meet more promoters for our 2018 summer concert series we are working on."
Siewert came to the defense of Starfest organizers Taylor, Bill Pletch, Michael Warden and Shamar Willis.
"Them paying Plano $125,000 is absolute robbery on Plano's part," Siewert said. "I would give them our space for free."