What happeed to the live music at Busch?

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Starlight Orchestra, the Italian show, and the Boogie Band are three of the shows that are gone.

From Michael Davis
Posted June 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM
What happened to the live music at Busch? First it was Holiday In Roma which had many fine musicians, singers, and dancers. That show was replaced with a click track show and now totally gone.

The Boogie Band (we were told) won awards as one of the top theme park bands. The band was full of energy and really got the crowds energized. It is now gone.

The Starlight Orchestra performed all the old big band classics from Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and others. Many of us would drive over an hour on weekends just to see the hour long dance sets. The Starlight Orchestra totally changed last year. It became a cheesy production show. This year it is totally gone. If anyone knows where these musicians are now playing, please tell me. I will gladly buy a season pass there.

Is anyone else disappointed by Busch's decision to get rid of these great musicians, singers, and dancers? I'm sure I'm not the only one. Please reply here. Please also phone, writ or email Busch to let them know your opinion. Their contact info is found here.

From Derek Potter
Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:09 PM
It's called cutting costs. Musicians aren't cheap (trust me on that one). At Cedar Point a few years back, musicians made about $450-$500 a week. One particular show called America Rocks had a 5 piece band (probably with 8-9 people total), about 10 singers, and a couple of techs. Add those paychecks together, and pretty soon the cost adds up.

InBev has been slashing costs at the AB parks since the merger. It figures that they would cut back in the entertainment department. Probably replaced them with a singer singing to a CD. Somehow I doubt they will be back if the park stays under the current ownership.

From Kevin Crossett
Posted June 19, 2009 at 12:59 PM
My name is Kevin Crossett. I am the communications manager for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. Scott Gasparich, Busch Gardens' vice president of entertainment, wrote the following response to address concerns raised in this discussion thread.

Statement from Scott Gasparich, vice president of entertainment for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg

Over the past several days, I have received phone calls and e-mails from Busch Gardens’ fans concerning a perceived reduction in the number of musicians used for in-park entertainment productions.

I would like to set the record straight.

With the addition of seasonal offerings during Howl-O-Scream and the upcoming Christmas Town events, our musicians are, in fact, increasing by 22 percent over the 2008 season.

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg prides itself on the high-quality entertainment options offered at the park. Musical performances and stage productions are an integral part of the experience guests expect when they visit. As in any production, variety is important. Reconfiguring shows and, in some cases, eliminating others paves the way for new and exciting opportunities that keep the park’s content fresh.

Live music is a strong element of our park experience. This season we’ve enhanced, diversified, and integrated live musicians throughout the park. By way of example, a new jazz band in France opens this week, something we have never had at the park before. We’ve introduced a musician-percussion group that has been well received by our guests. We incorporated live musicians in our new Goin’ Country show, replacing a recorded soundtrack used in previous years. And with the introduction of Festivale Italiano!, we have live musicians on stage and performing throughout the village of San Marco multiple times daily.

As you can see live music is important to Busch Gardens, and will continue to play a valuable role in the future.

From Jason Jackson
Posted June 20, 2009 at 8:50 PM
Festival Italiano is just amazing!

From Richard Reitz
Posted June 23, 2009 at 5:57 PM
Sometimes too much change works against you. The Boogie Band was fabulous.

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