March 23, 2018
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Hurricane puts damper on concert sales

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The riverfront stage is set and the show will go on as the Hollywood Slots Waterfront Concert Series continues Saturday with a Tim McGraw concert at 7:30 p.m.

The threat of long-range effects from Hurricane Earl appears to be minimal, based on current forecasts, but ticket sales have dropped off a bit recently as fans fret over potential inclement weather.

“Ticket sales have slowed down, but the latest forecast is only calling for a 20 to 30 percent chance of showers on Saturday, and if we get them, they’re supposed to be in the daytime,” said Old Town native Alex Gray, concert series promoter. “The current forecast doesn’t really look like anyone’s going to be in danger.”

On Tuesday afternoon, just over 8,000 tickets had been sold for the show, the third in the series. At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Bangor called for temperatures Saturday in the low 70s, 70 percent chance of showers and a 30 percent chance of measurable precipitation.

Other shows’ ticket sales are brisk — nearly 10,000 for the Sept. 10 Alan Jackson show, 4,000 for Jason Mraz on Sept. 11, 4,000 for Miranda Lambert on Oct. 2 and 5,700 for Godsmack on Oct. 10.

Gray isn’t expecting to have to cancel the McGraw show since the stage is rated and designed to withstand 55 mph winds. If the side “wings” are removed along with other staging, it is rated for 70 mph.

“We have a warning system in place and have prepared a recording that we’ve worked closely with Bangor officials on,” Gray said. “It goes through a step-by-step thing in case of a weather emergency. We’ll ask you to go back to your vehicles, the same thing they do at the Comcast Center or a football arena.

“People will be directed where to go online, which many people can do now with their cell phones, and we’ll give you the all-clear.”

Gates open at 6 p.m. and Brett Eldredge will open the show at 7:30 p.m.

Gray and concert production manager Robbie Snow of Hampden are waiting to find out whether a proposed beer sales rule change drawn up with Bangor city and public safety officials, submitted by venue vendor Oriental Jade and approved by Bangor Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno and Police Chief Ron Gastia, will be ap-proved by the Maine Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Liquor Enforcement.

The rule change would allow concertgoers to purchase one beer per person and take it back to their seats. They have had to drink their beer at an enclosed “beer garden” before coming back to their seats in the past.

“I spoke to [liquor licensing and compliance special investigations unit commander] David Bowler and he hadn’t seen the paperwork yet, but if it’s been approved at the local level, it will likely be approved by the commission and is probably in transit,” said Stephen McCausland, Department of Public Safety spokesman.

“It is in transit. We’re hoping they approve it either Wednesday or Thursday,” Gray said.

There have been more site changes and renovations, including the installation of permanent fencing as well as screening and tenting that will almost completely hinder the outside public’s view of the stage.

Another change is the expansion of the Oct. 10 Godsmack-Drowning Pool-Five Finger Death Punch show to include bands from all over New England.

“Basically, it’s the same as Oxxfest in Wiscasset earlier this summer,” Snow said. “It all kind of happened after we signed them [Godsmack]. Some local bands are going to play a festival starting at 10:30 a.m. This gives about 15 to 20 bands a chance to play before a larger crowd on a smaller adjacent stage.

“We’ll have to hire a couple of companies to set up the smaller stages for the local bands and some volunteers for help with admission and the crowds.”

The bands are selling their own tickets to the renamed “SmackFest.” The ones that sell the most will get to play later in the day and will have a better chance to open before the main concert starts at 7 p.m.

Purchase tickets now.

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