Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda officials and a promoter from the Niagara River Rocks concert series, set to kick off this Sunday, are putting an emphasis on safety for the upcoming show they expect will draw thousands.
Promoter Kathy Paradowski said the stage will be set up at Gratwick Riverside Park early on the day of the concert, which will headline the popular band, Primus, while a meeting between she and a team of city officials this week led to a ubiquitous push to address safety concerns.
Mayor Rob Ortt said the city will bolster a police and fire presence, while auxiliary members of both departments will focus on traffic and parking issues. Representatives of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department will also be present with cameras and helicopter and boat patrols.
Paradowski said she too will have a team of security on hand for the event, which is being lauded as a return to the city’s musical heyday of the Molson Canal Concert Series at Gateway Harbor Park, though organizers say that as many as 20,000 individuals could attend the much bigger performance space set along the Niagara River.
The city will also link radio communications between Paradowski’s staff and law enforcement and medical technicians, Ortt said, and create a “triage area” for those who may suffer health problems.
“Last year went off really well,” Ortt said of the one-time show last summer featuring Fuel and Buckcherry. “And the reason that went off well is a lot of planning. There was really no stone left unturned. It’s really a different animal then the Gateway Harbor shows because of the number of people.”
This year’s series has been expanded to three shows, with the Tea Party and Rusted Root performing in July and August, respectively. Paradowski said the draw could be huge this Sunday with Primus playing Friday and Saturday in Toronto, which could bring more Canadian attendees to the shores of North Tonawanda. Logistically, she said proper planning is key to a successful event.
“It’s pretty typical for what we do for concert series,” she said. “That’s how we get them to run so smoothly.”
Parking should also not be an issue, she added, While the show is free, Paradowski and Ortt said that concert-goers can park on site for $5. Police will be controlling traffic on the busy River Road.
“We’re pretty sure we should be able to house everybody there,” she said.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.