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Pasco's legends of rock concert at Harmony Park is canceled

Published Oct. 2, 2005

Hang up your dancin' shoes.

The Legends of the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame show isn't going to happen.

The Nov. 29 show was supposed to be the inaugural concert at the new 9-acre Harmony Park outdoor entertainment venue on Ridge Road in Port Richey.

Rock 'n' roll legends Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Martha and the Vandellas, Wilson Pickett, and the Spinners had signed contracts to be the headliners for the all-day show, with regional groups serving as opening acts.

"We can't get the (county) permits in time to do the work out there," said Ed Morelli, who obtained the acts for SRO Productions, the entertainment arm of Harmony Park. The venue's owners planned to build noise and sight-line berms along the south side of the undeveloped land, put in a sprinkler system and lay sod in time for the show.

"The grading alone takes a week," Morelli said. "The sprinkler system will take another two weeks, the sod a week and the landscaping another week. You have to do it in order. That's five weeks, and we don't have five weeks."

Despite the delay, SRO Productions is moving forward with plans for other shows, including a second annual Festa Italiano on Jan. 10. Contracts have been signed with Frankie Laine, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Dick Contino, Buddy Greco, Connie Stevens and Savario Saridis, Vispi said. Kenny Rogers has signed a contract to perform on Feb. 1.

"This is no fault of our own," Morelli said. "We are not allowed to do the shows until we have our permits."

SRO is refunding the money or crediting charge cards for the advance ticket sales, said Joe Vispi, artistic director/producer of the show. Tickets should be returned by certified mail, return receipt requested, to SRO Productions, P.O. Box 176, New Port Richey, FL 34656.

"This will be credited on their November Visa or Mastercard," Vispi said. "If they wrote a check, we'll return a check. The money's there."

At least one performer's agent isn't pleased with the cancellation and is threatening legal action.

Steve Green, who represents Jerry Lee Lewis, says he plans to file a lawsuit to force SRO to pay his client the $25,000 he was scheduled to be paid for the appearance, and perhaps more.

"I had a European date for Jerry Lee, three shows in Sweden, one in Greece, worth $170,000," Green said. "That money is gone now. We kept this one $25,000 date because we had a signed contract. It s---- to see this happen."

Lewis' contract stipulates that if the venue cancels "the purchaser shall be liable to artist for damages in addition to the full contracted price provided herein."

Green was skeptical of Morelli's reason for canceling the show.

"It's quite ironic that the day the ($12,500 deposit) money is due, the show gets canceled," he said.

Tonya Vaughn, whose William Morris Agency in Los Angeles represents Chuck Berry, said she hadn't been notified of any cancellation.

"We do have him in a contract," she said. "As far as I know, it's still on."

Morelli said his group hadn't been able to find another place to have the show. A year ago, St. James Catholic Church off Little Road rented him its soccer field to hold the Festa Italiano Cavalcade of Stars but didn't want to rent it for the Legends show.

"The church didn't want to do rock 'n' roll," Morelli said. "We went there first (about a rock show), and that is why we got this piece of property here."

Telephone calls to the county were not returned Monday.