Is Garth Brooks coming to Boise State University?
The school’s lawyers are shielding any public records about it.
Acting on a tip, BoiseDev requested on April 15th records pertaining to Garth Brooks or any other music events scheduled for Albertsons Stadium. But just 45 minutes before the statutory limit for producing records would expire, the school turned us down.
“I am an attorney for the University and I have reviewed your request,” Texie Montoya wrote. “I have determined any responsive records to be exempt from disclosure…”
Montoya then cited statutes around attorney-client privilege and trade secrets.
This indicates the school has such records but identified legal reasons not to release them. But the school released similar records just last year to BoiseDev. More on that in a moment.
Garth Brooks in Boise?
The Garth Brooks Boise kerfuffle started in March when KBOI-AM morning show host Mike Kasper posted he was hearing about possible summer dates for the country superstar. The next day, Bryan Harsin seemed to confirm it.
Then, late Monday, Kasper upped the ante, posting a Garth Brooks YouTube video on his Facebook page. Here’s part of his caption:
“Hmmmm, a little birdie told me that I may have some more news to share very soon about a certain concert with a certain super star who may be coming to Boise soon, whose tickets may or may not be going on sale in May,” Kasper wrote. “I guess it’s nice to have friends in low places willing to share news and rumors with me, so that I can share it with all of you.”
Brooks will play a sold out show in nearby Eugene, OR on June 29th.
Mtn. Home Country Music Festival & BSU: A missed connection?
Back to the records. The school granted a similar request made by BoiseDev last September. Boise State officials and representatives for Idaho Country Concerts discussed bringing the Mountain Home Country Music Festival to the campus.
In late 2017, the group behind the annual country concert engaged deeply with a number of Boise State officials. They got into logistics like semi-truck parking and ticketing technology. They even toured Albertsons Stadium just before the 2017 Idaho Potato Bowl.
“I really feel you and I together on this venue can do great things,” Anne Hankins with Idaho Country Concerts wrote Boise State’s Lisa Cochran on January 31st.
Cochran wrote back later that day.
“My intuition tells me we are like-minded in approach, share a passion for excellence, and are ‘make it happen’ kind of people,” Cochran said to Hankins. “Excited to see what we can do!”
Then, the country music promoter caught wind of a column by the Idaho Statesman’s Michael Deeds. It implied Boise State wasn’t into holding big concerts in Albertsons Stadium.
“Unless Boise State changes its tune about hosting major concerts at Albertsons Stadium, we can write off this type of event,” Deeds wrote of a theoretical Pearl Jam date in Boise.
“I saw the story of Pearl Jam not being allowed to do a show in stadium,” promoter Hankins said to Boise State’s Cochran. “Do you feel like we still have the opportunity to have board approval?”
The Boise State official wrote back the next day.
“Had to read the story you’re referencing; don’t put any stock in it. Yes, we have the opportunity to get approval.”
After that, the public records trail went cold for months.
In June, Hankins wrote Cochran again and apologized the lack of contact.
“You were so great with us earlier in the year when we were seeing what it would (be) like having MHCMF at BSU,” Hankins wrote. “Dynamics changed within the organization and the risk was so large in an area that we absolutely struggle with in general, but we are talking about different ideas and one never knows what new strategies we might have moving forward.”
Two months later, MHCMF officials told Deeds that they would put the event “on hiatus” for 2019.
Public records and Idaho’s law
Agencies in Idaho are essentially the final arbiter of their own records. They have up to ten days to produce records, and some agencies are better than others. The only recourse for a member of the public or journalist is to file a petition in district court. This, of course, generates cost and delays disclosure until it is sorted out.