USA Concerts, the same promoters that brought rising country music artist Jelly Roll to Auburn last summer, is touting its summer 2023 star-studded lineup of music stars who are headlining its “Tailgate N’ Tallboys” music festivals across the country.
One of the concerts listed on the tour website is the July 28-29 event at the Auburn Festival Grounds featuring Bailey Zimmerman and Yung Gravy.
The problem? The show will not go on, according to Auburn Mayor Lee Kilbourn.
The city is at odds with Auburn Improvement Management, Inc., the group that has been bringing big-name entertainers to the city.
The city sent a letter dated June 21 to AIM advising the group that the city will not process further applications for outdoor assemblies on the property commonly known as the Auburn Festival Grounds. The Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce canceled the 52nd annual Cornfest this week.
In that letter, Auburn’s zoning administrator David Haag notified Auburn Improvement Management and explained that the city would not process event applications for the organization, citing numerous ordinance requirements that “have not been met in the applications process along with a dispute in property ownership and use expectations.” Those actions “have raised concerns regarding property ownership, safety, security and parking arrangements.”
The letter further states that requirements have not not been met and there is an ongoing dispute centering on property ownership expectations.
“That concert in July is not happening because AIM has yet to present a completed application for a permit and we are under the 90 day advance notice time frame,” Kilbourn said. “How can AIM sign contracts with promoters for events with no permits given?”
The city owns 20 acres at the park, while the property on which the Cornfest is held (also 20 acres) has been jointly-owned by the chamber of commerce and the Auburn Jaycees. However, a deed was filed June 5 with the Bay County Register of Deeds that transferred solo ownership of the Cornfest property to the Jaycees. That deed is being disputed by the chamber.
Kilbourn and other city officials maintain that AIM is holding large events such as concerts at a city park that is not designed to be an event center. Parking, noise, security and safety issues are a major concern that AIM has not adequately addressed when putting on huge shows. Country music star Jelly Roll’s appearance at the park on July 29, 2022, completely caught the city off-guard. Vehicles were lined up and down city neighborhoods and even pulled off on the shoulder of US-10.