Pearl Jam 2011 Festival - a best guess

*** Update at bottom

I am working feverishly to figure out where the big 20 year anniversary celebration Pearl Jam festival will be this year. This is what they have given us so far. Ament has said it will be 'somewhere in the middle of the country'. He also said they would likely give the info out in April, and the show would be Labor Day weekend.

So, what markets could that be? To me, it could only possibly be two markets: Denver or Chicago. While the band wants to be accessible, they will want to play where there is population nearby, and airports and stuff.

So, Denver or Chicago? Well, we have an early tell... which is the Soundgarden tour. Soundgarden is playing the following cities this summer: Denver, Philly, Toronto, and Los Angeles. What does that have to do with the Pearl Jam festival? Everything. Those four cities are where the festival WON'T be. The reason is non compete clauses in every concert contract. the promoter of the SG show will say that the band can not play any show nearby for 60 to 90 days in either direction.

So, SG can't play another Denver this summer. I am almost positive that SG would play the Pearl Jam festival. They are more than just friends, they share a drummer right now. So, my theory was Denver or Chicago. Denver is out. That makes Chicago in. Except... Chicago doesn't have any great large outdoor venues.

This is where Alpine Valley, Wisconsin comes in. Holds 40,000 people, is a couple of hours away from Chicago. It is beautiful and outdoors. It is even large enough to have multiple stages. It makes perfect sense. Well, except for the 16 hour drive I would have make from Colorado. I wouldn't do it just for PJ... but for PJ and Soundgarden and some others I would.

perhaps Foo Fighters? Perhaps the Chili Peppers? How about Smashing Pumpkins? Billy Corgan is Chicago. Plus, they all toured together back in 1991 with Nirvana. I was there in Phx.

BTW, if you want advanced access to tickets (and you do, this will sell out in 5 minutes between fans and scalpers) you need to join Pearl Jam's fan club BEFORE the show is announced. It is called 'the Ten Club'. A membership costs about $20 a year. Trust me, this is worth it if you are a PJ fan. You get first shot at all concerts, a week before general onsale.

Update - I was Correct, it was at Alpine Valley.  It was a nice idea to try and put it somewhere in the middle of the US.  Denver would have been a better choice.  Anyhow, bu all accounts it was as good as you think it would have been.  Cornell showed up and did a bunch of 'Temple of the Dog' songs, too.  There is just not much better in life than a Pearl Jam concert.


Anonymous said…
Yes, I agree it is going to be at Alpine Valley.
J.J. said…
What about Kansas City or St. Louis? And any ideas on why no announcement yet?
Lono said…

Great questions.

First off, as to the where... I don't think those are great vacation destinations. Don't take this personally, but I don't think many folks want to spend the last weekend of their summer in Kansas.

To the second piece, I have a very educated guess. I know that wherever they are going, the venue is already booked and contracts are signed. However, I think the wait is ticketing.

The way Pearl Jam handles tickteting is that immediately after announcing a show, they do Ten Club onsale. Immediately, within 24 hours. So, they have to work out the ticketing piece for the fan club. The last fan club onsale the band did was perceived as a disaster. Their servers went down due to volume all day long.

That was for the Eddie Vedder solo shows this summer. So, if the band website can't handle 2,000 ticketing requests without crashing... what happens when PJ20 goes onsale and 40,000 people hit he server. That is what will happen.

People will get locked out, and scalpers will get all the tickets. So, my guess is the band is working very hard to make sure their fans don't get screwed by technology. They are good to the fans, and very good to fan club members. I have been one since 1997.

So, expect an announcement soon. It was supposed to be in April... so it will come any day now. According to many fans and friends of fans, it is a "done deal" with Alpine Valley.

Good luck! Also, if you plan on going (wherever it is), get into the Ten Club NOW. When they announce, you will have had to already be a member to get tickets. Does that make sense? For example, if PJ announced ticket sales today... you would have had to already be a Ten Club member as of yesterday. It costs about $20 and you can do it online.

I hope that was helpful, and I genuinely didn't mean to slag Kansas and Missouri.

Denver, CO
Lono said…
update - there is new information that shows mty carefully thought theory is in jeopardy.

in short, maybe I was wrong!

I explained above that the PJ Festival could not be in Denver because Soundgarden is playing Denver... and I briefly touched on the nature of non-compete clauses.

However, today, Soundgarden announced another bunch of dates, which include Chicago. Using my regional non compete theory... it could jeopardize the Alpine Valley theory.

I was just wanted to man up and say "quite frankly, I don't know shit."

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