Ticket Sales Drop for BC Fair Christian Band; Don’t Blame the Rain

On August 16, Brown County Fair officials tweeted “Great turn out” for the Christian music concert on the fairgrounds:

Yesterday fair manager Derek Ricci said no, not really:

Brown County Fair officials will give Christian music night at the grandstand another go, hoping attendance will bounce back after dipping this year.

Fair Manager Derek Ricci told commissioners during their meeting Tuesday that the ticket sale revenue for Wednesday of fair week was down from $52,149 last year to $35,370 this year. That’s a decrease of 32.2 percent[Shannon Marvel, “Attendance at Fair’s Christian Concert Dips, Will Be Reevaluated After Next Year,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.09.05].

Ricci said the main reason for the drop-off was that For King & Country isn’t as well-known as last year’s make-out-with-Jesus crooners MercyMe and Newsboys. But he also blamed God:

…Ricci said the weather and the popularity of the main acts were factors in the decrease.

“We got pretty significant rain that night, which I think contributed to that. I think we’ll give that night one more year then reevaluate that,” Ricci said

Significant rain? I went to the Brown County Fair that Wednesday night. I walked there. I would not have walked there if it had been raining. It had drizzled earlier in the day, but that ended by suppertime. At sunset, we had another picture perfect evening on the midway:

Don’t stretch your story when you don’t have to. The Brown County Fair booked a less popular band, and ticket sales showed that. Own it, and do better next year. (May I recommend AC/DC?)


14 Responses to Ticket Sales Drop for BC Fair Christian Band; Don’t Blame the Rain

  1. Bring in Skillet and they will pack the house but pay far more to the band as well.

  2. mike from iowa

    Do they have Muslim and Atheist music nights, too? How about American Indian. I’d almost pay to see Redbone light it up.

  3. Cory writes:

    Ricci said the main reason for the drop-off was that For King & Country isn’t as well-known as last year’s make-out-with-Jesus crooners MercyMe and Newsboys.

    “Rorschach” writes:

    Bring in Skillet and they will pack the house but pay far more to the band as well.

    I’d advise fair officials to stay away from bands managed by David Smallbone’s Smallbone Management (e.g. For King and Country) or by Zach Kelm’s spinoff Q Management Group (e.g. Skillet). I was there when this story was unfolding, and neither Smallbone nor Kelm has ever come clean about it:

    To some who know him, Christopher Comtois is a talented gospel songwriter whose faith speaks through his music.

    But to authorities, Comtois is a registered sex offender who preys on young girls and has not learned from his mistakes…

    Born into a family of musical and theater talents in New York, Comtois tried hard to make it as a gospel-rock musician. In the late 1990s, he toured and opened as soloist for popular Christian singer Rebecca St. James…

    Zach Kelm, St. James’ general manager at Smallbone Management in Franklin, Tenn., said Comtois was talented and toured with the band in 1997. That was the year before his 1998 arrest in Brevard County, his only brush with the law at that point. Kelm said Comtois showed no signs of his future problems.

    “Obviously, when he was on the road with us, he was under constant supervision,” Kelm said.

    However, Lamey said Comtois attacked a minor while on tour with the Rebecca St. James band in Illinois. Neither the group nor authorities knew about it because the victim did not come forward immediately, Lamey said.

    Comtois was dropped from the band in 1998 after Brevard sheriff’s investigators arrested the former Melbourne resident and charged him with exposing and fondling himself in front of four schoolgirls outside Cocoa’s Challenger 7 Elementary School…

    In December 1998, Illinois authorities served an arrest warrant on Comtois for molesting a minor in Bolingbrook, a village 26 miles south of Chicago…

    Lamey said Comtois was part of a vocalist group contracted to perform five daily sets about the time of the attack on the cheerleaders…

    But Comtois apparently went to one of the girls’ rooms unannounced after that, according to the affidavit. Once there, the document continues, Comtois exposed himself to four girls, ages 12 and 13, by taking off his wet pants and boxers and letting a towel around his waist fall off repeatedly. Sometime before 3 a.m., he also groped a 14-year-old on a stairwell and masturbated while holding her against her will.

    The “Christopher Justice” the cheerleaders said they met led Orlando police to another Christopher Justice, a former Denver Christian-school teacher who used to teach at an Orlando Lutheran school. The innocent Justice spent more than a week in jail before authorities released him in mid-March.

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2002-05-28/news/0205280121_1_rebecca-st-kelm-gospel http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2002-05-28/news/0205280121_1_rebecca-st-kelm-gospel/2

    I’ve corresponded extensively with an additional then-minor who was victimized by Comtois after a Rebecca St. James concert but never reported the incident to authorities. I’ve also made several unsuccessful attempts to resolve my issues with Smallbone and Kelm in private.

  4. I don’t want to get deep into the Christian music industry, but For King and Country is Joel David and Luke James Smallbone, younger brothers of Rebecca St. James. Is everyone in the story above related? And do enough people know about that story for it to have any effect on attendance at the Brown County Fair?

  5. Ror, maybe we should Brulé to come play the Fair next year?

  6. Cory writes:

    I don’t want to get deep into the Christian music industry, but For King and Country is Joel David and Luke James Smallbone, younger brothers of Rebecca St. James. Is everyone in the story above related?

    Joel and Luke are David Smallbone’s sons. Rebecca (Smallbone) Fink, a.k.a. Rebecca St. James, is his daughter. Another son, Daniel Smallbone, has coordinated light shows for Skillet under Zach Kelm’s management.

    Kelm got his start as David Smallbone’s employee and was speaking (untruthfully) on behalf of Smallbone Management in the Orlando Sentinel article above. Kelm couldn’t have been more than 22 or 23 years old in mid 1997 when Chris Comtois was performing vocal duets with Rebecca in concert, playing keyboards in her band, and preying on innocent young girls after their shows.

    And do enough people know about that story for it to have any effect on attendance at the Brown County Fair?

    It definitely had an effect on my attendance—or rather on my decision not to attend—but over the last 40 years or so the “Christian” music industry has demonstrated a tragic willingness and mind-bending ability to conceal numerous dark secrets from public view, and this definitely qualifies as one of them.

  7. And here I thought the problem with Christian pop music was simply that it’s mostly artistic and theological crap.

  8. Cory writes:

    And here I thought the problem with Christian pop music was simply that it’s mostly artistic and theological crap.

    The art and theology have generally improved in recent years, but unfortunately some of the managers and musicians still aren’t honoring the Golden Rule by treating others the way they’d want to be treated themselves (Luke 6:31).

  9. Mr. Lansing

    BCF would draw a proper sized crowd with Lauren Daigle. THINK BIG!! ✞✞✞✞✞

  10. Porter Lansing writes:

    [The Brown County Fair] would draw a proper sized crowd with Lauren Daigle.

    Last fall Daigle was performing with Joel and Luke Smallbone (a.k.a. For King and Country) in much the same capacity as Chris Comtois used to perform with their sister, but that probably isn’t enough to implicate her in the Smallbone family’s misconduct.

    I believe Daigle is managed by Leigh Holt and Kendra Flack. To the best of my knowledge, neither Holt nor Flack has ever issued any blatantly false public claims that a serial child predator was under “constant supervision” on one of their tours.

  11. Just bring back Willie Nelson, every year.

  12. Porter Lansing

    Willie Nelson is allowed into South Dakota?

  13. Cory writes:

    Just bring back Willie Nelson, every year.

    Porter Lansing writes:

    Willie Nelson is allowed into South Dakota?

    Willie has obvious flaws, but to his credit, hypocrisy doesn’t seem to be one of them. :-)

  14. Sure, Porter! Willie played the Brown County Fair and Deadwood in 2014 and Sioux Falls and Sturgis in 2016.