Crowds heavy but affable for Skynyrd-Daniels concert

Posted Aug. 05, 2010, at 7:06 p.m.

BANGOR – A steady stream of patrons waiting for Thursday’s Lynyrd Skynyrd-Charlie Daniels Band concert stretched from Railroad Street down Main Street toward Hollywood Slots, but police said nearly everyone was on their best behavior.

“Everyone’s been getting along. It’s like a folk festival crowd,” Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno said shortly before 6 p.m. as he surveyed the swelling number of eager concertgoers.

Police and organizers of the Hollywood Slots Waterfront Concert Series had braced for a rowdy crowd that often follows the two Southern rock bands. By the time the show started at 7:30 p.m., though, only one patron had been asked to leave.

The biggest concern before the concert was whether the skies might open up with rain. Arno said he and others were keeping a closer eye on the possibility of heavy winds or thunder and lightning. Police and fire officials were prepared to evacuate the waterfront if the weather turned dangerous.

“Rain is not an issue, but we don’t want to mess around too much with high winds or lightning,” Arno said. “I guess weather is always going to be a risk for an outdoor concert.”

By 8 p.m., the Bangor Waterfront seemed to have been spared from any violent weather.

Patrons began lining up shortly after 5 p.m. and within an hour traffic backed up significantly on Main Street. Another line of traffic formed on Front Street. Bangor police officers patrolled both lines, but Arno said there were no real problems.

Once the gates opened, shortly before 6 p.m., the lines started to move steadily. Everyone who walked through the gates was told to empty their pockets and warned that any bags would be searched. Some people seemed confused about whether they could bring their own seats for the general admission lawn area behind the seating.

Concert officials said chairs were not allowed.

“Are we supposed to sit on the ground?” asked one man in line.

“I think we’ll be standing,” replied his companion.

Ticket sales representatives said 8,000 tickets had been sold by about 6 p.m. and they planned to keep the gates open even after the concert started.

As expected, parking proved to be the biggest pitfall, but it wasn’t because of a lack of spaces. The Pickering Square garage was far from full by 5:30 and the massive garage at Hollywood Slots still had plenty of spaces at 6 p.m.

“I think the problem is that there isn’t one go-to parking area we can direct cars to,” Arno said.

By 7 p.m., the lines along Main Street and Front Street were virtually nonexistent. In addition to the paying ticket-holders, a few hundred people crowded into parking lots along Main Street, content to hear but not see the Southern rock bands.

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