Jimmy Koplik has become a Connecticut concert booking legend but it wasn’t always that way. Koplik was on Chaz and AJ this morning telling the story of how in the late seventies he was losing “hundreds of thousands of dollars on shows”
Everything went downhill when a concert at Colt Park got cancelled because of the Grateful Dead riot. Colt Park Hartford, in the summer of 1976, was they destination to see bands. Sadly on August 2nd of that year, biker gangs and the local police clashed and all of a sudden that was it for the venue.
Koplik started losing money fast because he booking smaller venues but still paying big price for acts. Fewer seats equal fewer tickets. He became broke to the point where he was losing “50 to 100 grand a night”; it lasted two years.
His revenue became so scarce that when he looked back at his taxes from 1977-1978, he said he “didn’t pay any social security because they didn’t take any salaries because [Koplik] had no money.”
He resorted to credit cards. Tons and tons of credit cards. “I had piles of credit cards…I would take money off the credit cards, you know, cash advances.” Between him, Shelly Finkle, and their wives, they had over 150 credit cards to shuffle through to get by.
“I would run to the bank…say ‘I need 2,000 dollars off this credit card’; they’d give me 2,000 dollars. I’d go back to the Coliseum and then give the band 2,000 dollars.”
Luckily for Jimmy the concert business turned around and he was able to find his footing and reach enormous success throughout the 80s’ right up until today, but for a brief moment in time there might not have been a legend after all.
Photo: (Left to right) Chaz, Jimmy Koplik, and Mike Lapitino at the Chaz and AJ McDermott Chevrolet/Lexus Toy Drive, Dec. 7th, 2018