LACONIA — On the heels of the first "Wake the Lake," a successful new block party, event organizer and nightclub owner Anthony Santagate now has permission from the city to bring a blues festival to Weirs Beach.
On Monday night, the City Council approved a request by Santagate to hold the Laconia Blues Festival on the beach on Saturday, Sept. 21.
It will cost $10 a ticket and more than 2,000 people are expected to attend.
Charlie St. Clair, who is acting as an agent for the event, said the festival should be good for the whole beach area.
“Even if you don’t buy a ticket, you’ll be able to hear the music on Lakeside Avenue and the boardwalk area,” he said. “Perhaps this could be a template for other events in the Weirs Beach area.”
The stage for the blues festival will be positioned on the sand near the channel, facing the beach and the boardwalk beyond. Blues fans on the beach will be able to enjoy beer and food while they listen to the music.
Santagate currently has five bands in the lineup: Amanda Fish, Willie J Laws, Michael Vincent Band, Tyler Morris, and Downtown Dave and the Deep Pockets. More will be added as the event date approaches.
St. Clair said organizers will make sure the beach is clean after the event, including picking up any cigarette butts that are left in the sand, though smoking won't be expressly permitted anywhere except for the parking lot.
“We obviously are going to work to make this very successful for all parties concerned,” he said.
Santagate, owner of the Tower Hill Tavern, held a three-day block party on Lakeside Avenue last September, with the idea of extending Weirs Beach’s fairly short season. He said he plans to hold "Biketemberfest" again this year, the weekend preceding the blues festival.
Last weekend, he held “Wake the Lake,” three days of live bands and DJs, performing on three stages.
"It was great, I thought we had a great time," Santagate said about Wake the Lake. The crowd wasn't quite as big as he saw for last year's Biketemberfest, but he and his bar manager estimated that at least 3,000 people attended on Saturday night.
"We need to do more stuff like this," Santagate said.