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Free concert set July 15 in Gratwick Park

The bands Buckcherry and Fuel will headline a rock concert in Gratwick Riverside Park on July 15, marking the return of concert promoter Kathy Paradowski to the city.

The announcement of the free show, marking the 30th anniversary of Canal Fest, was made Wednesday at a news conference in the park.

Paradowski, who promoted free concerts at Gateway Harbor for several years, left after the 2007 season and moved the events to Lockport. Now known as the Labatt Canal Concert Series, its fifth season in Lockport opens June 29.

"We are very happy to be bringing a show back to North Tonawanda. We love North Tonawanda," Paradowski said.

She and Mayor Robert G. Ortt said the July 15 concert may lead to a concert series in future years. "This is our first step," Paradowski said.

"I think this is a great day for North Tonawanda," Ortt said. "This is a new venue, really a new approach Everybody wants to be down on the water."

Paradowski said the stage will be erected near the Witmer Road entrance to the sprawling park along the Niagara River.

There will be a parking charge of $5 per vehicle, which Paradowski said will be used to offset her costs.

Food and beverages will be sold -- spectators won't be allowed to bring in food, backpacks or coolers -- as another means of revenue. Try-It Distributing, a major local beer distributor, also is part of the group putting on the Sunday afternoon event.

The city will pay $4,000 toward the rental of the stage, which costs $8,300, Ortt said. Sponsors will pick up the rest of that tab.

The North Tonawanda show will be officially called Cornerstone Niagara River Rocks, after Cornerstone Federal Credit Union, the lead sponsor.

"It's great to be a presenting sponsor. We've worked with Kathy for years in Lockport," said Paul Feidner, vice president of marketing for Cornerstone.

Ortt predicted the headliners will draw "thousands of people." Paradowski said she expects to add local bands to the bill as opening acts.