Stage AE wraps up a second strong summer

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Stage AE went beyond expectations in its inaugural year and looks to surpass that in 2012.

The versatile North Shore venue, which closed out its outdoor season with a second Dayglow Festival in early September, is expected to book 175 events this year, which would surpass last year's 160.

Once again, the summer season amounted to more than 40 events, this time with no competition from an amphitheater at Station Square.

Scott Stienecker, of the Columbus-based PromoWest Live, which books the amphitheater owned by the Rooney family, says, "We didn't have Motley Crue this summer, which was a huge coup last summer. But the biggest shows of this year were Modest Mouse, the Avett Brothers, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Old Crow Medicine Show and Girl Talk."

The Avetts and Girl Talk were among a handful of repeats from the first season, along with Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, My Morning Jacket and 311, which all drew well again this year.

He adds to the hit list Train, which sold out and drew "some of the best feedback of the season" from fans.

There were three cancellations this summer, none relating to ticket sales. Lamb of God canceled its tour due to singer Randy Blythe being detained in the Czech Republic on manslaughter charges (that show has been rescheduled for Nov. 27) and Danzig Legacy and Duran Duran both canceled due to illness.

PromoWest's Columbus venue, The LC, did less metal, due to the proximity of the Rock on the Range festival, but it did get a few more marquee names than Stage AE, drawing Wilco, Mumford & Sons, Gotye and Jack White.

"We fought to get them in Pittsburgh, but they either didn't have the time or the market wasn't on the agenda," Mr. Stienecker says. "We fight for both markets on every act, but there's some cool stuff that is probably driven by CD101 here in Columbus."

That's a commercial alternative station with more of a rock format and more reach than Pittsburgh's listener-funded WYEP.

Stage AE's fall lineup will mix such critical darlings as Fiona Apple and Passion Pit with metal (Lamb of God, Hatebreed), jam-rock (Umphrey's McGee) and wild dance nights via Bassnectar and the Barstool Blackout Tour.

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