Nelly to Perform in Branson - Mayor's censorship efforts waning

The Associated Press ran an announcement that Nelly will be performing at the Grand Palace much to the dismay of Branson politicos. The outdoor concert is slated for an Aug 21st appearance.

For locals not invested in the handful of private businesses subsidized by millions in tax payer funds - including the mayor's theater - new business is a good thing.

For the mayor, new development and new venues , though good for the overall economy threatens to cannibalize a handful of private businesses who have heavy handed control over millions in tax dollars funneled to a small group of businesses that haven't generated new revenue for decades.

Presley's partner in crime, KY3/KSPR ran a false report last week overstating by millions, debt incurred by the Branson Landing development. The intentional misrepresentation to the public was shadowed by a 5 year TIFF report that revealed the Branson Landing and Branson Hills have generated substantial revenue and aren't cannibalizing current business districts. The misrepresentation was based upon a bond called Branson Landing 2003A. The debt includes land purchases, a convention center and downtown infrastructure, much of which occured before HCW's Branson Landing was established. For over two years KY3 and KSPR have run only "Presley approved" stories instead of sending reporters to cover the facts of the administrations actions. Proving they can do a good job when present, the KY3/KSPR corporate press did an excellent job covering a standoff last week. Unfortunately the trend hasn't continued.

Only one meeting has been attending by the media corporation in two years; but several stories aimed at harming businesses in competition with Presley have run over the past two weeks.

With the help of KY3/KSPR, Branson's history is currently being rewritten to exclude the California blood that brought Branson into the national spotlight. Public airways contracted to Branson's top politician have allowed a "focumentary" to air that claims the Andy Williams interview that brought Branson into the national spotlight focuses heavily on "The Presley Theater".  The "documentary' style propaganda piece which runs every half hour doesn't even mention Andy Williams who was written out of the story. Under the contract, Branson's mayor has exclusive control over what is published on the television station.

When the national publication Billboard scheduled an event in Branson, Presley and city alderman expressed concerns over what type of music might be played in Branson. Hip-hop was specifically frowned upon enciting some alderman to mock the art-form.

Nelly's arrival to Branson signifies a regression of Presley's Kremlin style grip on Branson's economy. Currently, local businesses have to get special permission from planning and zoning if they want to extend their business hours and a massive utility rate increase is in the works to increase marketing funding for the theater business which includes the mayor's personal venture.The rate increase will serve as a tax on hotels and restaurants.

Two studies aimed at propping up the theaters as the exclusive source of tourism have backfired. One study conducted by the Branson Chamber of Commerce revealed  more people were coming to the Branson Landing than all of Branson's theaters combined and while an additional 15 million in special taxes have been spent Branson's theaters are competing for a waning piece of the "tourism pie". The second study which hasn't been covered by regional press was released in the 5 year TIF meeting and shows Branson's 5 years of record revenue haven't been the result of Branson's traditional theaters but rather a stimulus generated by Branson's new offerings - Branson Landing and Branson Hills.

The Grand Palace has had it's own vein of controversy as Branson's former mayor publicly criticized  the rowdy crowds generated by a tour of 80's hair bands before the theater closed.

While the mayor's theater hasn't generated new revenue for Branson in a decade, the wheels of change have brought new revenue in contrast to the national trend known as the "Great Recession".  The flood of income.

All the mayor's best efforts to thwart a free market economy are in vain and while local shows debate the purity of old country vs new country a new crowd of tourists will arrive - this time with a version of "Country Grammer' that hasn't yet appeared in a Branson venue.

Full AP Story:

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) -- Branson will expand its musical offerings when hip-hop artist and rapper Nelly performs at an open-air concert on Aug. 21.

The concert will be part of the reopening of the Grand Palace, which has been closed for renovations. Nelly, a native of St. Louis, will perform in the music venue's rear parking lot because of continuing construction inside the building.

Paul Dunn, manager of the Grand Palace, says Nelly's show will be the first hip-hop concert performed in Branson. Dunn tells KSPR that he plans to bring a wider variety of new, famous artists to the resort town, which is generally known for its country, bluegrass and gospel shows.

Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes Jr., is a Grammy award winner who has had hits such as "Country Grammar," "Dilemma," and "Hot in Here."

*Austin Texas