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Metallica concert ready to go

Weather looks good, city cooperation secured, even merchandise will be sold.

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A week out, prospects for next Thursday’s Metallica concert on Citadel Hill couldn’t look better: Environment Canada forecasts unseasonably warm and dry days. Promoter Harold MacKay has won the showdown with city administrator Richard Butts. And even angry merchandiser David Bluestein has made peace with MacKay, and so will be hawking t-shirts, CDs and other gear at the show.

The city of Halifax’s top bureaucrat, Richard Butts, had threatened to withhold city services to the Metallica show unless MacKay paid money lost on last year’s Common concerts---the $359,550 that is at the centre of the concert loan scandal now rocking Halifax. The city provides police and fire services, and oversees vendor and building permit inspections for outdoor concerts; without those service the Metallica show would have been cancelled. But MacKay held his ground, correctly pointing out that under the terms of contracts for the Black Eyed Peas and Alan Jackson, he is absolved from paying any of the lost money.

Apparently in a bid to save face for both sides, however, MacKay has agreed to pay about $40,000 in upfront costs for services for the Metallica show---but despite erroneous reports to the contrary from other media outlets, that payment is *not* related to the lost $359,550. In any event, the show will go on.

In May, The Coast interviewed David Bluestein, who oversees merchandizing for most big rock shows in Canada. Bluestein claimed that MacKay still owed Bluestein Export Import Inc. $63,000 related to merchandise sales for the Halifax Black Eyed Peas show. Unless the money was repaid, said Bluestein, he would not allow merchandise to be sold at the Metallica show.

Bluestein hasn’t returned phone calls as of press time, but people close to MacKay say the situation has been resolved, and Metallica attendees will be able to buy all the gear they want.

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