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The Gold City/Beckie Simmons Break-Up

July 15, 2011

Gold City is calling it quits with Beckie Simmons.  Or, I mean, Beckie Simmons is calling it quits with Gold City…

Tim Riley, original member and owner, states, “For most of the 30 years Gold City has been on the road, Beckie Simmons has handled scheduling our dates with integrity and class. We love her and appreciate her for all of her hard work over the years. After much prayer we feel it’s time to move bookings in-house.”

Beckie Simmons adds, “I have always believed in Gold City and their ministry. Tim Riley, as well as all of Gold City, are like family to me. This is a mutual decision to achieve what is best for Gold City. BSA and Gold City are working together to make this transition smooth for everyone involved.”

A few things are interesting about this development.

1)  Tim Riley is handling this publicly.  Is he also the one handling this privately, and not Daniel Riley?

2)  Tim Riley comments “after much prayer we feel it’s time to move bookings in-house”, indicating this was purely a Gold City decision, consecrated in prayer.  Yet Beckie Simmons describes this as a “mutual decision”.  Honestly, I don’t care who burned the bridge, or even if there was a bridge burned at all…but in the same article, those quotes seem to clash.  It may just be a case of bad writing and organizing thoughts.

3)  And in Beckie Simmons’ defense, if there were problems with booking or $ on GC’s part, I could come up with a few reasons.  Not showing up, canceling dates, group turnover, bad photos, a year’s delay of a new project.  Those things can add up to lesser flats and fewer places to sing in the long run.

4)  Gold City may not need Beckie Simmons at all, but due to the recent instability of GC, one might think externally, that they might.  However, if you’re Daniel Riley… scrap everything, maybe?  It may turn out that a new business and publicity direction is in the works.  Either create something brand new or re-track the model that once made GC so invigorating.   I hear the West boy is pretty good.  There’s a good start.

5)  But given the recent developments, already in the last couple of years…is Gold City really in a position to handle bookings “in-house”?

I hate to seem like I’m poking fun at this or analyzing too far down the scope of a really pointless issue.  But the only news we hear about Gold City is news with more questions than answers.  Maybe it’s not always bad, maybe it’s covered up, but it’s all questionable.  Truth be told, most groups NEVER give you the full extent of the details.  They give you the truth, but usually not the whole truth.  And that’s fine.  That’s business.  But right off the bat, in a simple press release…we see what looks like two conflicting sides.  Why even quote anything from Beckie Simmons?  If you’ve prayed about it, do you even need her comment?  There may be no conflict at all, but in having her part in the article, with a quote that doesn’t fully align with Tim’s, it immediately leads one to believe that the perception is “there is a conflict”.

Anybody else see how this may be perceived?

(Edit:  You can check out the article here.)

I’ll end with this, Gold City, I’m pulling for you.

  1. quartet-man permalink

    I believe they dissolved business with each other once before, but it didn’t last too long. I don’t know if it is a cost saving measure, more control over route or how it came to be.

    • I actually give them the benefit of the doubt here. I believe it was intended to be a cost saving measure. The organization of the press release may lead one to think otherwise, however. I guess we’ll know in glory!

      • quartet-man permalink

        We might know there, but probably won’t be too concerned. 🙂

      • That will surely be my very first question when I get to heaven.”Lord, about that Becky Simmons/Gold City breakup…”

      • Yes! Well, I assume you caught the hint of my sarcasm.

  2. quartet-man permalink

    YGG, you might specify which time because they could be different reasons. 😉

  3. Nate Stainbrook permalink

    Yes that West boy is pretty good… So is Keeton…

    • quartet-man permalink

      Agreed on both counts. I hope this group stays together for a while. Then when they get more popular, it’d be cool to have the band of gold again, but I know that is a stretch.

  4. Dr. Dave permalink

    A few years ago, GC was going to handle bookings in-house. They’ve been shifting more to themselves over the years, so this development is no surprise.

    I know of another group who cancelled with BSA over numerous issues several years ago.

    • I do not find fault in GC at all. I know you are talking of another group, but just in the last year I spoke with a group who was discussing cutting their ties with BSA. Not sure if they have done so yet or not. But I have a very close pastor friend who won’t even contact BSA about any group due to previous experiences. If he wants them, he’ll contact the group directly.

  5. Here is an idea … support GC with prayer and go see them when they are booked around in your area.

  6. David J. Stuart permalink

    Hey , groups do this all the time. The leave booking agencies, and management groups, etc. I know the Kingsmen have had several, as well as many other groups. It’s just part of the biz.

  7. Douglas Hughes permalink

    Well folks many of our SG groups are doing several things to cut cost and stay on the road…this is no suprise to me….and not much should be read into it!

  8. Linda Fitzgerrell permalink

    I suggest we give Gold City a break and quit picking on every detail. They have had a rough couple of years, but they are still hanging in there. I saw them at the Great Western Fan Festival, and the people loved them. Craig West is great. Dan Keeton is doing a really good job for them. Let’s encourage them and lift them up in prayer.

  9. To all you prayer warriors! Amen! As I said, I’m pulling for Gold City. But as far as praying for Gold City through this “booking agency” change, apparently they’ve prayed through it already and it’s done. And yes, I’ll see them if they are close. Anyone could look back on previous articles and see that my heart is close to the artist needs. The press release could be deemed misleading. And by pointing it out, hopefully we’re helping GC and other groups in the future.

    It’s business accountability.

  10. quartet-man permalink

    Here we go again. You dare question something a group does, comment or speculate a little (I am not talking about awful things or stretches) and you still get accused of being bad, bashing, and told to pray. Nothing in this thread has been out of line. I love Gold City, I want them to succeed, I have seen them more than once in the past year etc. We are just commenting on the change, are a bit curious, and wonder how the release was meant since it is a bit confusing. Favorite groups are not God, they make mistakes and fall short (as do we), should we never question them ?. Come on.

  11. Comment permalink

    I don’t think they conflict. I think Tim’s statement showed their side, and Beckie showed that it was both sides. There was no conflict, the first statement just did not state Beckie’s side. Don’t overthink it.

    • JSR permalink

      I tend to agree. When I read the article nothing struck me as strange. In fact, if it wasn’t for this post I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it….except for the “wow all I ever hear about GC is change” thoughts.

  12. I have to be honest, I don’t personally, or at least passionately, believe anything in my 5 points, except for #2 and the last portion of the post. The oddly structured press release led me to conclude different perceptions to what one “could” read into.

  13. I remember when Tim initially retired and Bill Lawrence joined, they parted ways with BSA. On their “Heaven” project (and I believe the second release of their last Christmas project), they listed booking as being in-house.

    I can speculate all I want (and I have a few of my own theories that have not been posted here), but it’s not my place to add to the rumor mill. Here are some facts….

    1. Any time an artist is booked through a booking agent, said agent makes a percentage of that rate. Let’s use a standard of 10%. If a group is booked for $1500, the agent makes $150. Three dates a weekend at that rate, the group earns $4500, and the agent makes $450. Now, let’s say someone calls an agent and says, “We can do a love-offering on a drive-thru date.” If that love offering comes to $500, the agent still gets $50, meaning that the group only made $450. Granted those may seem like modest rates, but if a booking agent wants any more than 10%, and a group is not pulling in a high enough flat, it’s pointless for both the group and the agent to be splitting such a low amount.

    2. If a group decides to book their own dates, this can make the booking agent mad, since they’re losing income. If a group has an “exclusive” booking agreement, this can also make the booking agent mad if a group books their own dates. Sure, you see announcements all the time saying “exclusive,” but how many of these groups adhere to it (and how many agents fight it)?

    3. A booking agent is good in two circumstances: if a group is begging for bookings and if a group has more bookings than they can handle. A group that needs bookings can rely on booking agents to add them to “package shows,” as well as calling in favors. Groups that have an abundance of bookings can benefit from a booking agent who can take the time to receive, negotiate, and schedule dates. Groups who are getting a steady (but not overwhelming) number of booking requests realistically do not need a booking agent.

    Do any of these apply to Gold City? That is not for me to say….and I honestly do not know.

  14. “2) Tim Riley comments “after much prayer we feel it’s time to move bookings in-house”, indicating this was purely a Gold City decision, consecrated in prayer. Yet Beckie Simmons describes this as a “mutual decision”. Honestly, I don’t care who burned the bridge, or even if there was a bridge burned at all…but in the same article, those quotes seem to clash. It may just be a case of bad writing and organizing thoughts.”

    It’s not bad writing or thought organization…it’s bad reader interpretation. The quotes do not clash, it was mutual…Tim gave his explanation as “after much prayer we feel it’s time to move bookings in-house” Becky chose not to give her reason for the mutual break up and just simply chose to say that it was mutual. Same as when a couple break up…it can be mutual…his reason for breaking up was because she was a nag and she broke up because he was a slob…he says, “I felt it was time to move on because she was always nagging me” She takes the other route and says “it was a mutual break up” in her mind there was no reason to say why they broke up….no reason to give details….he thought there was.

    in this case Tim felt the need to state Gold City’s reason and Becky chose not to, makes perfect sense.

    All in all I think your write-up in this case rates right up there with the Hollywood Gossip rags. Your speculating does nothing more than feed rumors, it’s just pathetic.

  15. I know both very well for I used to work at BSA and I did book Gold City dates.From the time I was there,there was no strife whatsoever between the 2.Beckie did in fact BEG Tim to come back on the road during the summer of 2009,because pastors and promoters were starting to get VERY uneasy about Gold City after the Aaron Mccune thing.We had more pastors and promoters calling to ask about the new problem,TENFOLD more than they were calling about wanting to book dates.In fact,the ENTIRE time I worked there,Gold City did not receive ONE call from a church who wanted them.WE,as a staff at BSA had to do ALL the groundwork.That was the way it was for many many groups on the roster at the time.Gold City still wanted $5,000 a night like Ivan and Brian were still in the group.I remember trying to ask for that amount and quite honestly it made me feel VERY disingenuous.It was Beckies idea and aggressiveness in its importance,that Tim come back on the road and right the ship.Thats exactly what Tim did.I left BSA in September of 2009.These days,Beckie and I dont see each other,and dont contact one another.But,I can honestly say,that when I was there as an employee,Gold City was a VERY VERY high priority.It didnt matter if they had 20 dates booked and ready for a single month.I still on occasion would have to stay an hour late to try to get that ONE more available date booked…….Im not here to champion BSA…..But I do know that she worked her rear end off for them while I was there and nearly singlehandedly kept them busy….and its apparent that Gold City has enough problems over the last 3 years that no benefit of the doubt be laid at their feet until they show some substantial change.Just cos its a gospel group doesnt mean accountability no longer exists publically.Sorry

    • Glad to hear some perspective. I was convinced there was something deeper there. Thinks for shedding a little bit of light on it. With GC as such a high priority, a pastor/friend I know… communications with BSA were awful during those years. Could’ve have leaked over into the workplace. Sounds like it did if you were staying after hours to book one gig.

      • Yeah I remember it vividly.It was a friday,probably around august 2009,Beckie and her husband Glen were leaving to go see Jeff & Sheri Easter in Leipers Fork,Tn….Gold City was passing through tennessee from indiana on the way to a sunday booking in North Carolina and had an open date in between for that saturday which was ONE day away.Beckie was at her wits end,Melinda(bless her heart,she has the LARGEST heart in the BUSINESS end of SG) was at her wits end,and i took the challenge that day.I remember right before beckie left for the Easters concert,i nailed down a love offering gig,and beckie gave me a high five.We as a trio(Beckie,Melinda,and myself) put in over 12 hours collectively THAT day,just to get a love offering gig for THAT following DAY-Saturday.It was insane……….At that time,Dixie was handling all Tribute dates and was doing a great job,Beckie was the ONLY one who could touch Jason Crabb bookings and for the most part-Gold City,and I was in charge of Aaron & Amanda Crabb,Crabb Revival(with melinda–THAT was hard) Mike & Kelly Bowling(the easiest to book ironically enough,and the group I had the least amount of fandom for) and totally in charge of booking Crystal River,who were like Glens(Beckies husband and writer of all Crystal River tunes) kids.He made me wear Crystal River shirts at work(tho he wasnt my boss, its not like I could defy him,he was beckies husband AND he bought me a car) when I was a suit and tie guy–LOL.Booking them wasnt hard for me,because I knew the guys very well,which made my pitches totally genuine.

  16. Something else to add.It is VERY surprising to me that most groups dont take booking in-house.If you present a professional, elegant gospel music performance, then getting the pastor or promoter to re-book you for the following year is EASY.What most people dont know is that MANY of the artists on BSA’s roster do that already and just allow the BSA stamp to be on their website and products for the value of the name.There really is SO much more than meets the eye in SG.If you LOVE LOVE LOVE SG,then it is best that you dont become too well informed on the business side.Its why I left.So I could still love it.

    • Agreed. That’s the way our church books all of their artists, especially for revivals, conferences and such. And actually that same pastor/friend doesn’t even call Becki (for whatever reason), but calls the artists themselves, of course they tell BSA, and it gets scheduled. We do the same thing with Harper. BSA or Harper or Dominion don’t meet all the pastors and church folk. The artists do. And if you have the same groups every year, going through the booking agency becomes irrelevant on whether or not you get a specific group. Now what does happen sometimes, if that group happens to have something booked, they transfer us to their booking agency and we get whatever is available.

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