I understand the desire to understand what, exactly, Moogfest means with their "protest stage", but this article starts out with a skeptical premise and basically takes lack of information as proof of said premise. It's ridiculous and the quality of research/aggressiveness of agenda here is something I'd equate to the Daily Caller or Breitbart - just on the other side. I'm newish to Durham but as far as I understand Moogfest hasn't exactly done anything to spite the city yet, and the author's definition of what constitutes protest seems to be pretty singular and myopic. Calling a bunch of non-profits that supports one's notion of progress and having them say they aren't working with Moogfest is really a reach. I mean, personally, I'd be happy if Moogfest did support those organizations, but just because they have a 'protest stage' doesn't mean they are all of a sudden obliged to do so prove this festival theme. Maybe it will all turn out to be a marketing ploy, but if that's the case it's a shame because you already wrote the piece before you had the facts.
There's also the very possibly obvious scenario that the 'Protest' stage will show artists who engage in 'protest music' and charging to see artists isn't some cynical gesture. If it's a big draw and that's how these artists make a living, well, that's how it goes.
This interview with Bob Nocek really jolted me. I was not surprised to read about the economic foibles of the theater when they occurred, but the ego and arrogance of Nocek--all I can say is wow. As a marketing and PR professional I was never awed by the theatre's marketing acumen--there were many empty seats at shows that should have sold more tickets.
The Carolina Theatre as a non-profit depends on donors and volunteers to put on its shows. Their staff is not large and as many 30 volunteers are needed to take tickets, provide customer service and usher during shows. Ultimately, the city of Durham controls the reins of the theater and pays the non-profit that runs the Carolina Theatre.
Nocek's failure to admit responsibility for the theater's fiscal meltdown also jolted me. He arrogantly says he was ""responsible" but did not do the accounting and was unaware of the situation. He was CEO of a small staff and didn't know there were financial problems? He admits in the interview he is capable of keeping his own books for his new company, but didn't have a clue about Carolina's financial condition. I find it very difficult to believe that a CEO in a company that does less than $3 million in business would not be curious enough to know how the business is doing month to month let alone every day. It wasn't hard to see which shows made money and which shows lost. It wasn't hard to figure that there appeared to be a lot of shows that lost money or didn't make enough of a profit compared to the shows that made money. I'm sure the theater knows the break-even point for each show and must have known income and expenses every month. Why didn't Nocek? He couldn't just yell down the hall and ask, "How did we do with that show?" It's not like he was running Exxon.
When an organization fails it is usually not the fault of one individual but a systemic flaw in the business. The Carolina Theatre is run by a board but the CEO has day-to-day operational control. Nocek takes great pride in the growth of the theater under his tenure, but it makes one wonder, given the size of the theater's fiscal hole, how much of that success was an illusion? He claims he increased sales from $600,000 to $2.5 million, but he left a hole of at least $1.2 million. That's not an accomplishment. His failure to take credit but not blame is egomaniacally astonishing.
I also don't understand how Nocek can walk away from a CEO position and then turn around and compete with the organization that suffered under his tenure. Didn't he have a non-compete clause in his contract? The result of the theater's financial disaster under Nocek left the city of Durham holding the bag for $1.2 million of which the city is forking over $600,000 to keep the theater afloat, a sum which the Carolina Theatre's board must match from donations.
His last answer in the interview shows Nocek's true arrogance when he talks about trying to "diversify" the audience by booking money-losing shows like Burt Bacharach and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Who were the diversified audiences he was trying to attract? Dead people?
I wish the Indy had gone deeper into its questioning of Nocek. Any curious resident of Durham must wonder what really happened at the Carolina Theatre.In the interview Nocek castigates people for blaming him. They have that right especially since their questions have not been answered. It's not very comforting to know that Durham's citizens must pay for Nocek's failure while he advertises Bob Nocek Presents across the state.
that gibson sg looks just like the one BIG BOY HENRY use to play. wish i could get to chapel hill tonight, i would like to hear it
One correction: None of the shows I've presented have been at The Carolina Theatre in Durham. They've been at The Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. I attempted to rent Durham's Carolina Theatre in 2016, and the Board of Trustees refused to allow me to rent a City-owned venue.
Great to see you doing so well, Bob!
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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