Okay, I want you to keep in mind that this is more of a review of the event than the music. While the music was great (I preferred the two local bands to Lou Gramm, actually), I've been waiting a long time to see something like this in Lockport.
There was a great deal of concern that the Ulrich City Center area wasn't going to be big enough to accommodate the event. It was big enough and then some. Estimates I've heard for crowd was about 8,000 people. Personally, I think that's a little high, but I've never been great at crowd estimates. I would have guessed about 6,000. Nonetheless, there was room for a ton more.
The stage was set at the south east corner of the City Center lot. Although I've never noticed it before, I noticed last night that there was a bit of an incline - with that corner being the highest point in the area. It would have made more sense to me to put the stage at the other end, creating a stadium-seating effect. That said, having the stage where it was and on an angle allowed a lot more people to get up close than would have been possible at the other end.
There were plenty of bathrooms - and a line for them all night long. I went with my wife and two girls. My youngest had to use the bathroom once and we were fortunate not to have a line thanks to the VIP pass I was given. That pass also came in handy for parking, as we were able to park right behind Sub Delicious.
Parking was supposed to be a big problem, but the only problem I saw was some Lockport business owners and organizations being left out of the loop because they were too greedy. I saw $7 parking several blocks away from the event. I saw $10 parking all over the place. And I even saw one lot charging $20 for parking. Fortunately, this lot was mostly empty. Had everyone asked for a little less (or a lot less in the $20 case), those lots would have filled up quick. But they had to be greedy. I'm sorry. That's the only way to say it. Greedy.
Know who wasn't greedy? The organizers. As with most festivals and free concerts, you buy tickets at certain stands and trade those tickets in for food and beverage at other stands. When I saw that tickets were $3.50, I was really concerned that beer was going to be two tickets ($7.00). I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only 1 ticket ($3.50). I'm sure some people thought that a bit much for a beer, but for this type of event, I'm actually surprised it wasn't a little more. Also burgers, hot dogs, fried dough, and some other things were only 1 ticket, too. Besides beer, they also had Mikes Hard Lemonade ... and one vendor was selling little bitty bottles of wine.
My favorite vendor of the night was the cigar guy. He wasn't using tickets. Just cash. I'm not really a cigar smoker, but since it was a special event, I treated myself to and apple-somthing-or-other. It was a buck! I'm glad I got it ... but I always forget how long it takes to smoke a cigar. And I was standing at the back of the crowd - in a relatively vacant area - while smoking it so as not to offend. I hope that guy comes back. I'll try another one.
There were just as many - if not more - vendors outside the fenced in area as there were inside. I got a blooming onion. A little pricey at $7, but I couldn't refuse. There were two trucks selling ice cream. I went to one this time. I'll search out the other the next time. Not cause the one I got ice cream from wasn't good. It was. But the other vendor is at every Lockport event there is ... and I appreciate the loyalty.
It looked like several of the area restaurants - especially those with finger foods and takeout - were doing well for themselves. And that was nice to see. I read in the paper this morning that Tom Bancroft from the Daily Grind said you could here just fine at his place. That might be nice. Some coffee and a place to talk ... (side note, the story about the concert itself listed Uncle Plum as opening. Originally, they were supposed to but there was some sort of last minute change)
Taboo's new outdoor patio is georgeous, by the way. I didn't sit in it, but I did check it out when I was in the area talking with some friends. It seemed to me that as long as you were ordering, they didn't care how long you sat there. But there were picnic tables near the food vendors, too. I thought that was a nice touch. Many people were upset that there were no lawn chairs allowed. I think those people didn't quite get the gist of the concert series to begin with ... but I saw several people sitting outside the fenced in area on their lawn chairs. And the sound was great back there.
The police presence was noticable and I took a few minutes to talk with a couple different officers - from a couple different police forces. They seemed to be having a good time and told me that there were very few problems.
At one point, I did see the crowd yell for help from the police - something about a woman having a seizure. The mounted patrol made their way over ... very slowly ... cause they had to get their horses through the crowd. Maybe next time, no horses, guys? Just a thought. But they did get over there and it looked like the woman was taken away in an ambulance which was parked on Locust Street.
From my perspective, things went really smooth. Although, I left early, so I didn't see what happened after - say - 10 o'clock. I heard on the radio that there was one arrest for disorderly conduct. I think that's pretty good odds.
Looking forward to the next one ... even if it is Blood Sweat & Tears.
For the rest of my photos of the evening, click here ... and for another review, by my friend Al Gritzmacher, click here.