Paging Governor’s Ball–New Annual Music Festival Proposed For Seaside Park, Approved By Park Board, Awaits City Council

Governor’s Ball musical festival in New York City

UPDATE: park board approval.

A proposed music festival in conjunction with organizers of the popular Governor’s Ball in New York City is now before the City Council, a venture of Howard Saffan, developer of the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater that is closing out its inaugural concert season this week.

The music festival would take place at Seaside Park in mid/late September starting in 2022. Proposal has been approved by Parks Commission for Seaside usage.

The Office of Planning and Economic Development has advanced a communication to the City Council to authorize a license to Bridgeport Music Festivals LLC “to conduct a Music Festival in a Portion of Seaside Park for a Term of Years.”

It will be referred tonight (Monday) to a joint committee on Economic and Community Development and Environment and Contracts.

The 10-year contract calls for the city to receive a $100,000 guarantee, five percent of gross ticket sales as well as a $50,000 annual donation to the Parks Department. Festival organizers will cover 100 percent of the security, public safety and clean up costs.

The Gathering of the Vibes festival at Seaside Park saluting the music of the Grateful Dead originated under Joe Ganim’s first mayoralty went truckin’ upon his return. The city cited $500,000 in owed police costs.

Saffan and Governor’s Ball organizers are expected to make a presentation to the joint committee this month. If approved in committee, the full council will likely vote on it in November. A new City Council will be seated in early December. Concert promoter Live Nation will also serve as a musical festival event partner as it does with The Amp.

According to the minutes of the Park Board’s August meeting, Saffan told commissioners “five percent of the gross ticket prices will go to the City of Bridgeport so they are talking
about somewhere around $350,000 to $500,000 a year, of which a part of the proceeds will
go towards the Parks Commission’s budget.”

See full minutes here.

Full council agenda here.

The public may listen into this meeting by calling the following conference line and then
entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 381 083 245



  1. Whoa!
    Let’s not sell off the city of Bridgeport to Howard Saffan so quickly.
    A 10 year contract being approved in a month before even the new council is seated?
    If I were still on the council this would be a nonstarter.
    And the Parks Board is apparently shut out completely.
    Folks it just shouldn’t happen this quickly.
    If Howard Saffan wants to do something this quickly than do a one year deal.
    We lost $500,000 in Police Protection alone never mind how much we left on the table over the years.

  2. Grin
    I believe the Parks Commission should give permission to the city / promoter first then it should go out to bid.
    There are many other city departments involved in this to say the Parks Commission should have sole authority but they should act first.
    Then put it out to bid. Howard Saffan and the Governor Ball are acting like this is a right that was granted to them with the amphitheater deal. It’s not.
    City ordinances require an open bidding process. Do not go down this road any other way.
    Sole source, I think not.

    1. Hmmmmmm! $500,000 lost on police protection huh? Brings to memory all the narcotics confiscated at the last vibes concert, Remember? And it all was “lost”. Evidence confiscated “lost”? I don’t recall that ever being resolved. Who was in charge of narcotics then? Who was in charge of event security? Unless I missed it, nothing was ever resolved. Lennie you might have to ask Joe what happened or make a trip to the facility where Joe’s buddy is doing time. Or is he out yet? I think someone there OD’d as well…….at the music festival.
      Things are run much better now right?!! Not to worry!!!!!

  3. WHAT??..Slow down here,why the rush to approve this so quickly??..You know how things go when Saffan is involved,there WILL be added expenses when push comes to shove,and once this gets approved,the city will have no choice but to be at Saffan’s mercy…Some questions off the top of my head.
    1.How many tickets will be sold for these music festivals?
    2.Will these festivals be like the Vibe,a multi day event?
    3.Why is the city renting our park out for only $150,000 plus 5% of ticket sales?
    4.How many days will the park be taken over by these festivals,thereby limiting the taxpayers access??
    5.If Joe wants this rushed through,that’s a big red flag,never know what his motives are.
    This council is a rubberstamp for this administration,I would hope one or two will ask some questions tonight,and then delay the vote till a new council is seated..Something about this smells to high heaven.

  4. Oh, and I almost forgot, NO FREE TICKETS. NONE.
    NADA. That will be the first question out of the council members mouths.
    How many free tickets do we get for VIP seating? NONE.
    If you give free tickets to the council that will vote, IT IS A CONFLICT.

  5. You people make me laugh. It’s a concert. dudes. 🙂

    Bob, Grin, that’s not how government operates. If the city lost $500,000 it was because the prior admirations made it so. As I said, the city should not make deals where the city loses, and those who make the deal with the city profit from it. That’s the corruption that needs to be eliminated. Deals like that are just taxpayer-funded profits for others. Forget about a few tickets Bob, that par for the course.

    Grin, this is not a contract to be bidding on. This is a venture that may or may not pan out. This goes to my prior statement. They all pan out if the city/taxpayer is paying the profits while corrupted officials takes the cut.

    In this instance, the city pays nothing. (I hope) How much it takes in is one thing, but it should not lose anything? The taxpayers should not be the source of the profits for others.

    Harvey, there are some questions/needed infor, that peeks, ( pun n intended KML. 🙂 ) my interest.
    The council should have many more. But at the end of the day, it is a concert in the park. The Park needs to restore to its prior condition and not on the taxpayer dime.

    I’m always read about how the city needs to attack people to support local businesses yet posters on OIB always seem to shit on them when they come. Basically always on perspective political affiliations. If you can draw thousands of people to the city, and they feel safe they can venture out to downtown or other attraction, it is a win for the city. JS

    BTY, Rich, please, are you say the police don’t always act honestly and appropriately when conducting their responsibilities as an officer of the law? Maybe BLM has some legitimacies? Not sure about those white Anitfia/Marxists, recruiting blacks and coming into their communities inciting riots and burning down it, though.

    P.S I didn’t have time for your B!@ching & moaning. I have shit to do, people. 🙂

  6. WHAT THE FUCK, PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!! There will be big time traffic problems, drug dealers will a have field day making money. Staffan is really pimping the city big time with this deal.

    1. Please, Bob, LOL

      It’s not so much of “corruption” as the type of corruption. The Port tends to corrupt downward. To Jeff’s “vibe” those from Stamford to limit the Port’s potential. 🙂

      However, this is more of a perk. 🙂

      Comrade Ron, define drug dealers? By the time of the first concert, Pot should be legal, and alcohol is essential. 🙂

      P.S if traffic is going to be the handicap in everything to help the Port grow. It’s going to be a slow drive. However, there are issues to work out with regards to parking, I stand my stance with the parade, find a way to use the Sikorsky lot, or set up lots across the street. It’s not like we are engineering a rocket or a microchip here people. 🙂 JS

  7. Robert
    You don’t understand this Common Council.
    You give them a free ticket they don’t care about anything else.
    They will give you what ever you want and more.
    No free tickets.

  8. This gets even better. The Parks Commission already approved this at their August meeting.
    Both OIB and the CT Post failed to report on this.
    Great Caesar’s Ghost as Perry White might exclaim.
    Both media outlets failed to report this.
    Only In Bridgeport!
    So now it’s $500,000 a year. My, my, my.
    This is quickly becoming serious money with Joe Ganim paving the road.
    Not good.
    More reason to require a competitive Request For Proposals.
    Paging Carmen Lopez.
    Paging Barbara Bellis.

  9. If a competitive RFP had been required from the get go, none of this would have snuck up on us.
    Corruption is alive and well in Bridgeport.
    Bridgeport where corruption never left town.

  10. Bob, how does an FRP play come into play? The proposal is coming to the city. If others made such a proposal and were denied or if the Vibes were pushed on the grounds of own the city $500,000 to make room for Sounds on the Sound, then corruption is at play.

    However, I can’t see the city initiation a concert venue to seek an FRP Or it was corruptly given to Howard by bypassing a needed FRP. Nothing is stopping anyone from making a proposal to use the park in a similar manner. If anyone wants to make a similar proposal what is stopping them? Howard’s deal is two weeks out of the year. ( I think) I don’t think this deal excludes anyone from requesting a concert venue at the park. So I am having a hard time understanding your arguments.

    Well, that Port corruption/sides tend to corrupt downward. If the Port taxpayer doesn’t lose money and will gain revenue, the park restored to its prior state, as well as, attacking thousands of people to the Port who might patron local businesses. It is not a loss for the city. There should be no real argument on those grounds. It is just cutting the baby in half, based on sides or how you want to cut corruption. But that’s the game, I guess.

    The only valid argument was by Harvey with regard to unseen/add expenses that ultimately cost the city/taxpayers in the end. JS

    It’s a concert in the park, not a city capital project. 🙂

  11. It’s plain and simple. Howard Saffan says to the city he wants to stage a concert and the city says OK we will put out a bid. Plain & simple. May the highest bid win.
    Other promoters might guarantee more or offer a high potential windfall.
    But you make them hand in a secret bid and the highest best bid wins.

  12. But this nonsense of one bidder has to end. This is what got the city in deep shot the last time and is capable of doing the same this time.
    How do you know Saffan didn’t take Joe aside and say you will make 10% of whatever the city makes if it is a closed bid process?

  13. Bob, I am not going to get into the intricate promotion of a park concert, vendors, corruption, or for that matter, governance. 🙂

    I agreed with you if the city pays out more than it takes in, so-called add/extra expenses, that type of corruption needs to end. Taxpayers should not subside the profits to entities they partner up with.

    There are questions needed to be asked, but at the end of the day, the city should not be on the hook for anything, stage included, and the park needs to be restored to its prior use. However, the council can negotiate for a higher piece of the cut in profitsin ticket says for the used of it land. If another promoter wants to hold a park concert so be it. A concert festival is not a City venture to be put out to bid.

    I understand you point thought, the arena, ballpark, now AMP, among a few where the takxparyer subsidized the profits, but you act like the city just sold Seaside Park to Howard Saffan. 🙂

    P.S in fairness , I can’t say what promoting a park festival intails, but if it’s anything like starting a business from the ground up. The Port tax payers are F-ed 🙂

  14. And I am not going to continue this BUT if you do not put this out to a competitive bid then you will never know how much more you could have made and what types of safeguards you missed because Howard wants it done tomorrow.

  15. Let the next council decide. At least they will be there for another two years.
    One of the new council members comes from the South End, a district directly impacted by the concert.
    And if it is successful, and let’s hope it is, maybe a second or a third.

  16. There must also be a public hearing in the area most impacted by the concert, i.e. the South End.
    The public hearing should be before the Common Council AND the Parks Commission.
    The promoter is encouraged to put on a presentation to discuss all items including the concerts, the types of music / entertainment, other vendors, emergency services, public safety both in the park and in the neighborhood, noise abatement and remediation and other areas of concern.
    The testimony given by the promoter will be binding on the promoter and he must guarantee adherence or there will be other penalties including termination of the contract.

  17. More disruptive misuse of public assets (e.g., The Vibes) that will, no doubt, wind up costing the taxpayers $millions when all is said and done (e.g., The Vibes, the Ball Park,/Arena, and now the City-subsided amphitheater)… Backasswards, economic-development non-planning for electioneering purposes… More Ganim Administration bullshit… Virtually no difference between GI and GII: There was a seamless transition (albeit, with a long, court-ordered hiatus) from one incompetent regime that ended disastrously to the present one, the latter of which is supported (similarly) by a foundation of economic-development illusion and dangerous tax-hike deferrals/huge deficit-$pending accumulation… The schools, PD and FD will do without staffing in order to host these Mayor’s Re-election Gubernatorial-prospect Balls at Seaside Park. We’ll be handed the bill after the fact, just like for the Vibes and Ball Park/Arena… The Amphitheater and Steal Point are a whole other (no jobs for Bridgeport) story…

    Again: the last mayor to actually create real, living-wage jobs in Bridgeport was Mandanici — and there was no glitz or hype — he just brought in real manufacturing concerns to reuse manufacturing sites on part of the old Remington/GE Seaview Avenue site. Locke Mowers, et al… It was a “start” that was abandoned once the idiotic Steel Point idea was first hyped forty years ago… And what do we have — in the way of jobs and tax base — to show for it, forty years later?!… We have tens of millions in City red ink and -10,000 jobs — not to mention the upheaval of a huge, once-vital neighborhood…

  18. Lennie: There isn’t any hint of Mandanici-era, Tom-Gill fingerprints on any of the city-subsidized, jobless, fluffy-glitz that G1/G2 would have us accept as appropriate economic development for Bridgeport… It would appear that Tom was brought back for the soul reason of supporting the G2 claim of having appropriate professionals in place in at least of some of the critical positions in City Hall…

    I doubt that Tom has done any of the non-planning for the non-development that has occurred in Bridgeport since 2016… Tom’s just there as “window dressing” and to make sure that there’s some semblance of order and professional standards in place in the Bridgeport Office of DECD…

    Come on. Who’s bs-ing whom about the creation and execution of any sort of well-considered, well-researched, Bridgeport-centric plan of economic development by G2… What they would have pass for “economic development” is just jobless, non-taxable, government-subsidized glitz-fluff being thrown up on the low-lying Bridgeport skyline to augment the other Ganim election-campaign spending — in addition to waterfront, behemoth, greenhouse-gas belching power plants and other obnoxious infrastructure to serve the “regional” economy even as it devalues Bridgeport’s
    overall extant and potential tax-base…


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