Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — More elbow room for vendors and visitors, less musical drift into residential neighborhoods and new, positive exposure for retail businesses on East Avenue.
These are the reported plusses of the Labatt Canal Concert Series' new venue, the city parking lot on Chestnut Street behind the YMCA and Lockport Public Library.
Since the first concert in the 2013 series this past Friday, feedback from business operators, concert goers and residents seems to compliment the new venue. After five summers, the series left the City Centre courtyard, between Main, Walnut, Locust and Pine streets, amid complaints from office and shop owners that the weekly shows were disrupting their operations.
Lisa Michaelsen, of Les Enfants children's clothier, East Avenue at Charles Street, suggested concert goers are more than welcome at that corner. As streams of visitors passed by Les Enfants, Donna Eick's Divine Catering, Caruso's Hair-Phenailia and Pallister House florist on their way to the show by Theory of a Deadman, some took the time to stop into the shops and check them out.
"We're excited about the concerts and the new venue. I think it's positive for our corner," Michaelsen said. "Anything the city can do to bring in people from the outside, and give people in the city something to do, is great."
Concert crowd size was loosely estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 people. Neither Michaelsen nor Beverly Federspiel, director of Lockport Public Library, noted any building safety or security issues after the crush of concert goers.
"Nothing exciting happened, which is good," Federspiel said. "There was no damage to the (library) building, which was our biggest concern. All in all, things went fine."
Patrons were somewhat inconvenienced by limited access to library parking. The city kept the paved area behind the building open until 3 p.m. while concert set-up went on around it, but patrons could only access the lot from Charles Street. Chestnut at Market Street was blocked off early Friday to limit vehicular traffic through the site.