Friday's Country at the Amp concert is canceled, and the promoters will decide by the end of the week whether to continue with their inaugural season.
''It's all about attendance,'' said Daniel J. Sferra, who started 3D Productions with David Sferra and David Mazzochi to promote a concert series of country tribute acts at the Warren Community Amphitheatre. ''Expenses were more than we thought they would be. We made a lot of mistakes our first year.''
Sferra said the group will decide this week whether they want to put more money into the venture or see if they can find some other investors.
''I think it has potential,'' he said. ''We'll know by the end of the week where we stand.''
Friday's concert, which was to feature an Alan Jackson tribute act, is the second concert canceled since the season began on June 8, and three more concerts remain on the schedule.
Country at the Amp was patterned after River Rock at the Amp, the Saturday concert series featuring classic rock tribute acts. One of the biggest problems 3D Productions faced in its first year is that there aren't as many country tribute acts as there are rock acts.
''We found it very hard to get the country acts,'' Sferra said. ''For Kenny Chesney, we had to fly him in from Nashville, put him up (in a hotel). There's only one Kenny Chesney tribute act. If you want Kenny Chesney, this is the guy to hire. We couldn't get acts in Ohio. Even if they were coming from Columbus or Toledo, it would be a lot less. For some reason I can't figure out, country acts aren't as prevalent as rock.''
Those costs, as well as the other expenses incurred by staging events at the city-owned outdoor venue, haven't been offset by ticket and beer sales for the six shows so far.
Sferra said they are current on their bills.
''We don't owe anyone any money,'' Sferra said. ''When you do a show, the band's gotta get paid, the police (security) gotta get paid, the sound people gotta get paid ... Those expenses are all paid. The question is whether we want to keep losing money.''
If the rest of the season is scrapped, Sferra said he didn't know what impact that would have on the money already collected from sponsors and promotional partners who were promised an 11-concert season.
''I really don't know,'' he said. ''Hopefully, we won't have to do that. No one has lost money on this except us.''
As a Warren city councilman, Sferra questioned whether the rental fees the city charged River Rock at the Amp for use of the amphitheater should be higher.
Marty Cohen, co-promoter with Ken Haidaris of the River Rock series, said, ''I feel bad they might not be able to continue the season. A lot of people don't realize what it takes to have these events. It's not just the rental of the amphitheater. It's the ancillary things it takes to put on a quality event. ... In our first year, it was a lot of initial expense. That's why we appreciate our sponsors.''