Hurricane Ike Blew Away Slew of Country Shows

Booking Agents Expect Effects of Storm to Linger

Hurricane Ike’s rampage through Texas and adjacent regions last week has resulted in the cancellation or rescheduling of several concerts, Nashville-based talent bookers tell CMT. com. More are expected, either from extensive damage to venues or loss of electric power.

“Last week we had a bunch canceled,” says Jon Folk, vice president of Buddy Lee Attractions, “and we’ve even had some canceled this week and this weekend because [there's] still no power down there.”

One of the casualties, Folk reports, was a Billy Ray Cyrus show set for last weekend in San Antonio. It has since been rescheduled for December. Buddy Lee artists Bart Crow, Brandon Rhyder, Jackson Taylor, Ryan Beaver and Django Walker had shows canceled in Webster, Columbus, Huntsville, Corpus Christi, Mission and Tyler, Texas.

Crystal Beach, a community on Galveston Bay’s Bolivar Peninsula, was demolished. Texas-based singer-songwriter Hayes Carll got his start performing at local clubs, and many of his songs include references to the area and the characters he met there. In recent years, Carll has hosted the Stingaree Music Festival there.

Folk says the Firehouse Saloon in Houston, one of the venues played by his artists, has suffered some storm damage and that the Jolly Fox in Huntsville, Texas, was still without power as of the midweek following the storm.

“Some of the residual effects will go into October,” predicts Mark Roeder, who books outdoor shows and arenas in the region for the William Morris Agency. “Some of the [performance] buildings were damaged in Houston and Beaumont and [especially] in Galveston [where the destruction was catastrophic]. … The good news is that we’ve not lost that many [shows] in the club world. It remains OK.”

Ryan Gardenhire, who specializes in club bookings for William Morris agrees: “Most of my clubs haven’t canceled any shows yet,” he says. “We do have a few problems that we’re working through — in markets that you wouldn’t expect. Like I have a show coming up in Lufkin, Texas, which is in the Nacogdoches area. They didn’t get hit with any rain, but they had really severe winds that caused some damages.”

Gardenhire notes, however, that he has not heard back about the condition of several clubs he works with in Beaumont, Houston and southern and southwestern Louisiana.

Adds Roeder, “We’re still waiting on a couple of reports back for our larger tours — for instance a Brad Paisley [swing] through Texas in mid-October, where we had a Houston date. I’m waiting to talk to [promoter] Live Nation there. I hear reports from other folks that the Woodlands Pavilion in Houston had a part of the roof blown off.

“And a lot of people don’t have power, which hinders the ticketing process and things of that nature. So I’m waiting to speak with a few of our Live Nation reps to see what’s going to happen to our shows a month from now. Will they play? Will they not play? Do we need to move them to another venue? Will they just cancel?”

(A recorded phone message at the Woodlands Pavilion said the facility was closed because of the hurricane and listed several concert cancellations.)

Brett Saliba, an agent for Creative Artists Agency, says there were some pre-emptive cancellations in Texas and Louisiana before the storm hit, as well as post-Ike nixes because of flooding and other water damage.

“We had to move a Trace Adkins date, and we’re going to have to end up moving a Jeremy McComb date,” Saliba reports. “So [the storm's] basically hit from the arena level all the way down to the club level. Jeremy was in Houston and Trace was in Kinder, La. Another [cancellation] was a 38 Special date, and that was all the way up in Oklahoma.”

A spokeswoman for the Bobby Roberts Company says that the only date her firm has had to cancel so far because of the weather was a John Conlee appearance Sept. 13 in Columbus, Texas.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.