COLUMBIA — The Parks and Recreation Commission* voted to allow Thumper Entertainment to host a summer concert in Stephens Lake Park.
The Columbia City Council must agree with the action for the event to happen on June 16. If the council decides to disagree with Parks and Recreation, the event will not be held.
After much discussion, Parks and Recreation also agreed to waive the usual no alcohol in the park policy for the planned blues concert event.
Mike Hood, the Parks and Recreation director, said the commission is willing to work with Thumper Entertainment to have a successful event.
By working with Thumper, the commission hopes to develop a way to control the traffic that is inevitable at the concert. It also wants to make sure some revenue comes back to the park in order to cover potential damages as well as make sure the use of alcohol is managed, Hood said.
At a previous Parks and Recreation meeting, Thumper Entertainment, who organizes the annual Roots 'N’ Blues 'N’ BBQ Festival, said the goal for the concert is to attract a younger crowd, ranging from 18 to 34-years-old.
Three community members at the meeting thought the concert was a great idea to promote the park and bring the community together. Two members, however, did not agree with the proposal and were worried about park damages and the sale of alcohol around underage youth.
Thumper representatives said there would be ample security measures, including retired police officers surrounding the 13-acre area, to prevent such issues.
Noise was not a concern with the members of the crowd, as Thumper’s proposal for set up is to have the stage back up to Hinkson Creek on the east side of the park. The noise, according to Betsy Farris of Thumper Entertainment, will be directed inward toward the park and audience and will not affect the surrounding neighborhoods.
The company has plans to encourage concert-goers to ride a bike or walk to the event to promote sustainability. The event will provide shuttles from various locations.
Tickets will cost anywhere from * $20 to $40, according to Richard King, an owner of Thumper Entertainment.
This is the first time Thumper Entertainment has hosted such an event and considers it a “trial run.” If successful, it hopes to have more events of similar nature at Stephens Lake Park.