"People don't get blown out when things are going well," says one concert-industry insider about last week's departures of 4th & B general manager Ray Johnson and marketing director Hester Hamman. The insider says the changes may not be connected with longtime 4th & B headliners appearing at the nearby House of Blues instead.
"I heard the problems had to do with easy sellouts like James Brown and B.B. King not doing as well [in ticket sales] as they have in the past." A call to 4th & B owner Ali Nilforshan was not returned.
An interior renovation of the 1500-capacity music venue is planned for completion next month.
"I think with all the money they were spending on remodeling, they were just looking for ways to cut overhead," says another insider.
Chris Strickland, a 4th & B talent-buyer, says attendance drop-off was not an issue and that even though the B.B. King show did not sell out, "It came close." Strickland says 4th & B will continue to showcase big-name DJs. "We'd like to do one night a weekend [with a DJ]. We just had Felix the Housecat from Chicago. It sold out." Strickland says ticket costs for such attractions at other venues might cost $30. "We want to keep ours at $20."