LACONIA — An all-day rock concert and fireworks show proposed for Lakeport remains on track as long as the organizer, Recycled Percussion, abides by a series of conditions set by the city.
Wendy Osborne, a representative of the band, was at the City Council meeting on Monday night, and took some tough questioning from Councilor Robert Hamel before the council approved a Union Avenue road closure for the Sept. 21 event.
The stage will be near the “Chaos & Kindness” store, 777 Union Avenue, which will hold its grand opening on the day of the concert.
The store shares its name with the group's television show and revolves around the concept of giving people experiences to show them that they can shape their future to be better than their present.
There will be a blues festival at The Weirs and high school homecoming the same day.
“More coordination, I think, would have been better,” Hamel said. “To me, the venue up at The Weirs other than that night would have been fantastic. You could have done the whole strip; boats in the background would be there. It would have been great.”
“Something to consider,” Osborne responded, “but our store in the background is what we’re after right now. We want people to come in and enjoy the grand opening. That’s what it’s about.”
An estimated 4,300 spectators can fit in the area designated for the concert, but Hamel said he thinks many more than that number may attend the free event.
“How are you going to control that?” Hamel asked.
Osborne said the event is being promoted on social media and there’s no way to know how many will attend.
“We’re not going to lie to you and say, ‘OK, cool, this space holds 4,300, and we’re only going to have 4,300. We can turn away 5,000 people.”
Hamel said that, if people have to be turned away, it will be up to city police officers detailed to the event to do that, and those turned away may not be happy.
“So what kind of confrontation could happen just from that?” Hamel asked.
In an interview Tuesday, Police Chief Matt Canfield said the event poses challenges, “but we’ll make it happen. That’s what we do in Laconia.”
Traffic congestion and overcrowding are concerns, as well as the potential for security threats that can be present in something that is not a controlled event. Off-site parking lot and shuttle buses are in the plan, but the key is making sure there are enough vehicles and support to make sure it works.
Osborne is to return to the city’s Special Events Committee two weeks before the event to confirm that all of the city’s conditions are being met.
Organizers are to contact businesses in the Union Avenue detour area to make sure they are aware of what will be happening. A final site plan is needed, showing vendor locations, portable toilets, parking locations, security barriers and detour signs.
Canfield, who is on the Special Events Committee, said he wants to see a positive event and will make sure safety precautions are observed. A detail of police and firefighters, paid for by Recycled Percussion, will be on hand.
“We won’t endorse an event haphazardly,” Canfield said. “We set requirements and they need to meet them.”