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The search for concerts continues

The city is renewing its effort to lure national recording acts back to the canalside park this summer after an announcement that a new promoter was canceling plans for country music shows on Saturdays.

"We've been trying to bring it back from the dead," Mayor Robert Ortt said of the concert series at the Tuesday night Common Council meeting. "My office has reached out to other promoters."

He was reacting to the promoter who announced about a week ago that he was giving up on his Council-approved plan for seven country concerts in Gateway Park this summer.

"We found some small sponsors, but the money just wasn't enough to pull the series off," said Steve Reszka, president of the Williamsville marketing firm Reszka & Associates. "It was surprising that we lost four sponsors in a matter of four weeks."

He reported early last month that a major bank, auto dealership and technology company were among the businesses that decided not to spend after making verbal commitments last year.

Traditional park concerts with nationally famous bands moved over to Lockport in 2008 after promoter Kathy Paradowski had a falling out with the previous mayor.

She has since forged a relationship with the current administration and will return this summer with one evening of concerts called "Niagara River Rocks" at a new local venue: She will bring yet-to-be-named bands to Gratwick Riverside Park to begin Canal Fest on July 15.

After the meeting, Alderman Eric Zadzilka wondered whether Paradowski's plans for Gratwick might inspire someone to take on the opportunity to host concerts at Gateway.

"Maybe it'll cause a little chain reaction," he said.

Council Chairman Richard Andres said there will still be the traditional series of local rock bands, such as Boys of Summer, playing on Wednesday evenings at Gateway.

The canal park, with its views of the waterfront, should, eventually, attract more famous musicians from afar, he said.

"We have the best venue of all," Andres said. "I feel we've got the potential."