Tricentennial fundraising troubles making it difficult to book big entertainment acts


Beyoncé. Shakira. Selena Gomez. You won't see any of those big stars performing during San Antonio's upcoming Tricentennial. Fundraising problems have so far kept organizers from landing any big names.

The Tricentennial Commission has been tight-lipped about who will headlining their big kick-off concert New Year's Eve. But internal emails obtained by the News 4 Trouble Shooters through an Open Records Request show many of the most popular acts have been out of their price range.

Tricentennial organizers promised "A-list" performers for their New Year's Eve concert, which will be held at Hemisfair Park in front of an estimated 25,000 people.

Emails show their initial wish list included names like Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and George Strait.

But most of the big names were unavailable on that date.

Shakira, Usher and Selena Gomez all had New Year's Eve open but promoters said it would take a million dollars for any one of them to come to San Antonio.

That prompted one tricentennial official to send an email reading: "We need to look at the lower level people and see how to make them work within the budget..."

Fergie and Demi Lovato were available for around $500,000. The commission also considered offering $600,000 for a trio of '80s bands: Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper and the Go-Go's.

Documents show in May they made an offer to Fergie's representatives, but couldn't come to an agreement.

“We're still in negotiations and exploring what is possible, but there's been a variety of talent that was identified and explored and for whatever reason didn't work out," said Edward Benavides, CEO of the Tricentennial Commission.

Getting a late start has also seemed to hurt the commission's efforts. Emails show they wanted to be featured on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin’ Eve, but New Orleans beat them to it. The Crescent City is also celebrating a tricentennial next year.

Benavides says he still plans to sign a big performer and announce it during November.

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