BUFFALO, NY - It’s the story mappers of Canalside have been working to pen since its inception.
Large crowds enjoying Buffalo’s waterfront for various events, including concerts.
However, there may be some changes in the offing, following some concert chaos which ensued Thursday night at a free performance headlined by T-Pain, when people who were shut out of the show rushed the venue.
“It was the largest concert we’ve had all summer here at Canalside,” said Ryan Coate, General Manager of Canalside and Spectra Venue Management, which stages the shows there.
“Generally all summer long our concerts have had between 7,000 and 15,000…so 25,000 is a huge number, “Coate said.
Twenty five thousand is also the capacity of the space for concerts at Canalside, according to Coate, who said that because they don't issue tickets for free concerts, security personnel use clickers to count those being let through the gates, before they close them.
"And we clicked over 25,000 people that came into Canalside last night for the concert," Coate said.
Thousands more were left outside the gates of the concert area, and remained there to at least hear the music or look on from where they could.
All was well, until at one point some decided they'd like to get in too, so they crashed one of the barriers.
“We had one section where people did break the gate in,” confirmed Coate, who estimates up to 2,000 people then rushed into the venue.
“We were very prepared with security.” said Coate, who admitted that despite the best measures, when something like that happens involving that many people, there’s not much you can do but hope for the best.
“All of our security staff was lined up with the Buffalo police to try and prevent that, but I think we were outnumbered at one point…so it did happen, but there were no injuries,” Coate said.
Nor did any arrests result.
However, there might be some changes in the future, to avoid this sort of thing, beginning, with perhaps charging a nominal fee for certain concerts that have been free.
"We have talked about that and our team has gone back and forth (about it) quite a few times,” Coate told WGRZ-TV.
“I'm not saying we may never not charge ...but we'll want the public's input on that, and to be on the same page as far as what we charge, if we were to charge, and what you get for that fee. But we’re not there yet,” Coate said.
There is also the possibility that some shows might be staged at the Outer Harbor in the future, with the upside being more space, which would have to weighed against less parking and potential problems with getting larger crowds in and out efficiently.
“I'm not saying that's not a possibility, but that's not my place to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’," said Coate, whose responsibility is limited to Canalside. “But the infrastructure on the Outer Harbor could be a challenge, especially if we had 25,000.”