Where are my summer concerts?

JFK closed out the summer concert series at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheater on Saturday, Aug. 27, in front of a packed crowd. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)

For the first time in years there will not be a city-sponsored series of concerts at Keizer Rapids Park in 2023.

The contract with Clint Holland and KRA L.L.C. was canceled by the city on Oct. 1, 2022. The contract with Holland and KRA L.L.C. stated it could be “terminated by either part for any or no cause.”

A certified letter dated Sept. 16, 2022, sent to Holland notified him the contract was terminated effective Oct. 1.

Per the contract, no cause was identified.

There was a situation in early August that required a certified letter from City Manager Adam Brown to Clint Holland regarding an improvement Holland made at the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre to add poles next to the stage.

No prior consent was sought from the city. Concrete piers had been poured into the ground to hold poles for flags and banners.

A letter dated Aug. 3 included text of Holland’s contract that forbid him and KRA L.L.C. to make any permanent improvements to the facility without prior written consent from the City.

There were reports of phone calls from community members to Keizer city councilors about issues with management of the amphitheater and the concert series. 

No councilors would go on the record to maintain Holland’s good reputation regarding his community service work over the past 40 years.

The process to contract for management of the city-sponsored concert series had been rocky in recent years.

Holland and KRA L.L.C. had the contract with the city for more than 10 years. At the end of the three-year contract in 2021, the city announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the new contract term.

Holland claims he was unaware of the RFP, that it was sent to an address he no longer used at the time. He cried foul and asked that the RFP be opened again. Two other groups—the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and Valor Mentoring, submitted proposals on time.

The committee that scored the proposals recommended the new contract be given to the Chamber and Valor. Holland and allies spoke before the city council citing the process was flawed and should be done again.

The city didn’t want me there

Clint holland

A new RFP was announced. In the re-do, Holland and KRA L.L.C. scored highest and gained the new contract.

After the contract was terminated last year, an RFP was announced. Holland said he never received any negative communication from the city other than the issue with the concrete piers. He removed the piers.

Since news of the termination of Holland’s contract spread earlier this year, he said he has received many phone calls about the summer concerts. When he wore a Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre shirt recently Holland said he received many comments from people.

At the time of the new RFP, the Chamber and Valor Mentoring decided against submitting a proposal. According to Chamber executive director Corri Falardeau, the Chamber made the decision to move on and work on other projects.

Tim Davis, president and CEO of Valor Mentoring, said by the time a request for proposals after KRA L.L.C.’s contract termination was issued late last year, his organization’s growth had precluded him from submitting a proposal.

“We didn’t feel we could pull off (managing the concert series) to our standards,” said Davis. He did say there might be a possibility of producing one music event this year. He added that it would be worth considering managing a concert series in 2024.

Without a series of concerts scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays this summer, it will make it easier for single events to book space on the amphitheater stage.

It opens the opportunity for more groups, bands and organizations to use the stage, said Mayor Cathy Clark. “It will be easier to engage for the community to enjoy,” she said.

Two of the projects the Chamber is planning are concerts at the amphitheater. The first is scheduled July 14 when McNary High School’s Audio Production & Technology program will take to the stage with Rhythm and Business, a 10-piece funk and soul band from Salem. The second will see the return to the amphitheater of JKF, a popular band that has drawn the largest crowds at previous summer concerts.

For his part, Holland said he is moving on. He hopes to stage concerts at other venues in the region. He said he will remove his concession booth within a week to make room for the city to build food truck pads for future events.

“The city didn’t want me there,” said Holland.