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March 21, 2014

Canal concerts canned for 2014

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Downtown Lockport will be a lot quieter on Friday nights in 2014 as the Canal Concert Series is taking a one-year hiaitus.

Thom Jennings, who picked up the torch dropped by former concert promoter Kathy Paradowski, says he needs more time to make it work. 

"Due to all the circumstances that have come to pass … we’ve decided to just put the series on hold for a year," Jennings said Friday. “I just wasn’t comfortable with the level of sponsorship that we needed. We had anticipated that all of the major sponsors would come back at a similar level. And they didn’t. 

Jennings said the work for a 2015 series is already underway with the progress he had made towards the now-shelved 2014 series.

“If nothing else, there’s been a lot of lessons learned — both good and bad,” Jennings said. “This doesn’t stop the process. It just prolongs the execution.”

In short, the music fan said he would rather have a great series in 2015 than a mediocre one this year. Putting the series on hold is preferable to him than the risk of having a bad year and having the series disappear altogether. 

“I’d rather have something that the city can be proud of, that I can be proud of, that everyone involved can be proud," he said.

Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey reiterated Friday that concert funding is not in the city budget but she looks forward to discussing the 2015 concert series with Jennings as the year moves forward. 

“I think he has a good model” the mayor said. “We’ll be waiting to hear from him as the year progresses."

Business owners near the venue offered a mixed reaction. 

Brian Junke, owner of Lock 34 Bar & Grill, called the announcement "disappointing."

His bar and restaurant employs about 20 people during the winter months — double that over the summer. One of the reasons for that increase is the concerts.  

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