Waterfront Concerts head expects ‘most diverse year yet’

Alex Gray, concert promoter.
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Alex Gray, concert promoter.
Posted Jan. 22, 2013, at 11 a.m.

Though Tuesday morning’s big story — the first Waterfront Concert to be announced, featuring rock legend Sting — was certainly a welcome surprise, concert promoter Alex Gray said it’s only just the beginning. He’s said that in previous years, but this year, he really means it.

“I would say it’s probably going to be the most diverse year we’ve ever had,” said Gray. “Now, we’re at the mercy of the industry, and until you sign the contract, you can’t know for sure who’s coming. But it’s looking pretty clear to me. I’d say it’ll be by far our biggest year ever. If we even get 50 percent of what we hope for, it’ll be huge.”

Gray said fans can expect an announcement each week for the next three weeks, and after that possibly even more, as he and his staff return from the major industry trade show on Los Angeles with even more bookings.

“That’s when the real picture starts to take shape,” said Gray. “At this time last year we only had three shows confirmed, but now we have four. We have some pretty good programming lined up.”

Fans will just have to wait to see what’s coming next, but one thing they can be assured of for this season is that the concert-going experience will be much more pleasant, as the development finishes up. Since October, crews have been redesigning the field on which the concerts are held to lessen the impact concert noise has on neighborhoods and to improve the overall experience of the concerts.

“We’ve been having concerts in a city park, essentially, so this year the experience will be dramatically different. The amenities to the fans alone make it much, much better,” said Gray. “Improved concessions, improved seating and viewing. It’s a major improvement. When you look back at the last three years, this year is leaps and bounds ahead.”

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