Saturday, December 5, 2009
More on Bon Jovi
Horseracing handicappers look at more than just past performances. Trainer patterns are particularly significant, and sometimes even owner patterns can tell an interesting story. Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of Fair Grounds Racecourse, delivered a particularly interesting "tell" last week by announcing that Bon Jovi would headline its coming music festival at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In New Orleans the Fair Grounds has an extremely lucrative relationship with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, namely proceeds from the beer concession. Horsemen are ambivelant about the music fest -- training must be concluded immediately after the meet ends in late March as the track is prepared for the festival crowds. But Churchill Downs Inc. saw more than a horseracing facility and casino gambling palace when it bought Fair Grounds -- it had its eye on the success of Jazz Fest as well. Now it's running a competing festival at Churchill Downs, naming the festival after the racetrack's brand and apparently using Jazz Fest as advance billing for its headlining act. Bon Jovi's inclusion on the last Jazzfest lineup was a glaring red herring in the mix of acts -- a mainstream rock band with zero connection to New Orleans music or any of its tributaries -- and the group brought out a mass of fans that to put it mildly were unschooled in New Orleans music. The Bon Jovi crowd booed Dr. John during his Jazzfest set as fans pushed toward the stage for a good view of Mr. Bon. So now we have a better idea of how Bon Jovi became one of the headliners of the 40th anniversary of the New orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Nice to know we are now a subsidiary of the Churchill Downs Fesival season. I wonder what wonderful branding tie-ins we can expect at future Jazzfests?