LACONIA — Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion told city officials on Friday that a Sept. 21 all-day outdoor concert and fireworks show his rock group is planning should bring a lot of people to Lakeport, but it's hard to estimate just how many.
Punctuating his remarks with salty language uncommon in the City Council chambers, Spencer said, "I would just assume a lot of ... people will come. We're going to go full blitz and put Laconia on the map. We're not going to half ... it."
When the band, which has performed around the world, stages a concert, thousands of people pay a hefty price to get in, but this event could attract even more because it will be free, include other acts and serve as a grand opening for the group's new store.
He said in an interview later that "thousands and thousands and thousands" of people will likely come. He said the fireworks show alone will be the biggest ever seen in Laconia.
The band is transforming a former restaurant at 777 Union Avenue into a store called Chaos & Kindness, which is the name of the group's television show. The project is aimed at giving people experiences to show them that they can shape their future to be better than their present.
Friday afternoon, Spencer spoke to the city’s Special Events Technical Review Committee, which is working with him and his representatives to ensure there is proper security, traffic control, public notification, trash collection, permits and parking for the event. The committee includes Police Chief Matt Canfield and Fire Chief Kirk Beattie.
There will be food vendors and booths selling the group's new clothing line.
Shuttle buses will bring people from designated parking areas to the festival area at Union Avenue and Elm Street.
"We want to make sure we don't have gridlock," Canfield said.
It will be a busy day in Laconia. A blues festival is planned at The Weirs and the Laconia High School homecoming will be taking place.
The group's concert plans cleared the committee. It will be up to the City Council to approve the road closures seen as necessary for the event's success. The council will take up the issue Monday night.
Spencer said the goal of the event is to make Laconia "cool."
"It's to bring back some positivity to this community. I was born here. Our goal is to bring Chaos & Kindness to the people, the whole brand. We're going to spend an incredible amount of money and time and effort to build that brand, and its headquarters will be here in Laconia forever."
He also said he wants the community to know that the band doesn't believe in substance use. He said, for example, he has never had a beer.
The show will serve as the band's introduction to the city.
"It's these kinds of events that, while they seem very chaotic to you, this is the world we live in," he said. "We played 25 countries in seven days last year and gave toys to 5,000 kids. We played every state in the country in 12 days and we'll play all seven continents, and beat Metallica's record, in six days. So we're used to doing things incredibly fast.
"That being said, we've done things in the past and have learned. It's not uncommon I'll hide money in town. I did it in Goffstown last year and the chief of police called me and said, 'Dude, this whole city is shut down. You've got thousands of people.'"
Spencer said more planning is being done for this event than others his group has done.
"I don't usually ask for permission, which is how I get in trouble to begin with," he said. "We have a massive tour bus in Vegas. We book concerts on the bus and drive on the strip half naked and just do crazy ... all the time."
He said he wants the community to know the group has Laconia's best interests in mind.
"We want to be the new fresh blood that comes in here and does really cool things in the community. We want to feed people that need to be fed; we want to employ people who need employment; we want to keep our money in this state, or we wouldn't do it, we'd base out of Vegas."
Documents filed with the city indicate the concert stage would be set up on Union Avenue, just south of Elm Street. Union Avenue would be closed in the area, and other traffic restrictions are planned.
The event is to begin at noon and end with the fireworks show.
Spencer and Ryan Vezina of the group said in a Facebook post that the band began with a high school talent show and grew to a multimillion-dollar global performance group.
“Well we looked at opening the store in either Las Vegas, Boston or New Hampshire,” the post stated. “After considering everything we decided that New Hampshire needed to be FIRST. When looking at the state everyone said ‘don’t do Laconia’ as it will fail.”
That sentiment persuaded them to open it in Laconia.
“Laconia, it’s YOU who needs the ‘kindness.’
“There will be a program designed to have canned foods for people in need, school clothes for kids that can’t afford them and other ways to support whatever community our stores are in.
“So Laconia, NH, we are investing into YOU. We plan on having massive events to launch the store and to bring people together. This is the start of what will be decades of growth, learning, laughing and crying.
“We are locked in for the long haul and look forward to employing people, inspiring people, and changing lives in the only way we know how ... with chaos. So buckle up everyone, chaos and kindness is about to explode and we will start this in NH ... proudly.”