Reservation Blues

Twenty years ago, concert promoter Bill Silva predicted that there would eventually be two concert markets in San Diego County: North County and metro San Diego. In other words, the same artist could play both ends of the county on the same tour. When the B-52s played Humphrey's on July 31 and Pala Casino the next day, that prediction was realized.

Last week, Pala Casino, 30 miles east of Oceanside, announced House of Blues would take over talent buying for its 2500-seat outdoor theater. Dick Clark Productions booked Pala for the past two years.

"Pala is so far away [from San Diego]," says David Swift, general manager of House of Blues Concerts. "It draws mostly from Orange and Riverside Counties and some from North County." Swift says "by leveraging our national talent-buying power," he wants Pala to become North County's premier concert venue.

A local promoter points out that Indian casinos often win bidding wars for big acts because they can pay so much more for artists. "I went to a [concert-industry convention] and one talent buyer from a casino said that he pays $75,000 for an act that would normally get $40,000," says the promoter.

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