Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

December 19, 2013

Concert series saved?

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Mayor Michael Tucker, who has been on the ground level of discussions by the new organizers, agrees that sponsors will stick with the series.

“The ones that I’ve talked to with (the organizer) and on his behalf, they’re all pretty excited about it,” Tucker said. “I think the ideas he has will make them even more willing to be a sponsor.”

Tucker agreed to assist the group in recruiting sponsors because he believes the concerts add value to the city.

“It’s done a lot of good things for the city. I think the people enjoy it. It’s an economic driver,” he said.

The Labatt Canal Concert Series was submarined after the Common Council withdrew city funding in the 2014 budget. The city was covering the weekly cost of professional stage rental for the shows and paid police officers and paramedics to work the shows on an overtime basis.

The commitments cost the city about $110,000 in 2012; about half of the tab was for police and fire overtime, according to Tucker. On a weekly basis, public safety coverage cost the city $6,100.

And that’s a cost that won’t go away no matter who’s organizing or funding concert acts. If a new concert series comes together as expected, the city will have an obligation to assign police and paramedic coverage to it, Tucker said — just as it’s obligated to assign that coverage to other crowd-heavy events in the city including the annual Arts & Crafts show and Cruise Nights.

The new-series planning team expects to pull together a six-show season in 2014. The city’s “cost” would exceed $36,000, and it hasn’t been budgeted.

Aside from being sponsor- and admission fee-driven, and the fact that it would offer fewer shows, there is an aspect to the new series that people are going to either love or hate.

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