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POLICE SHUT DOWN ARTS AND MUSIC FEST, BUT THE PARTY CAN GO ON, MAYOR ORDERS

The show is supposed to continue on through today, if the mayor is right.

Lon Coldiron, owner of Coffee & at Niagara Falls Boulevard and Packard Road, is holding an outdoor arts and music festival, Thunder of Water, this weekend. Performers have been invited to play for a chance to win $300 and a three-song demo disc recorded in a professional studio.

However, the police shut the festival down about midnight Friday.

That did not make Coldiron happy, but Mayor Irene J. Elia showed up Saturday afternoon to assure him that it wouldn't happen again.

Coldiron said he doesn't need permission to hold such a festival because his coffee shop is zoned for industrial uses.

Late Friday, Lt. Arthur J. Casilio told Coldiron to shut down the festival,Coldiron said.

Casilio could not be reached to comment.

"The lieutenant doesn't run the city," Elia told Coldiron on Saturday, adding that she called Police Chief Christopher J. Carlin on Saturday morning. "He's taken care of it," she said.

Elia said: "This city is a business-friendly city. We're a tourist destination."

Coldiron told the crowd that he would be inviting the four bands back that were supposed to have played until 2 a.m. Saturday. "I feel like it's only fair for what happened last night," he said.

He also said he would go to jail if the police tried to shut him down Saturday night.

"I had 500 kids here last night. They're not smoking dope. They're out here drinking coffee," said Coldiron.

He is so confident that the free music nights are good that he is opening a new Coffee & at 1718 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, on Tuesday.

"All the kids love it here, and we want to take the same thing to Buffalo," he said.

Chris G. Routhier, a judge for the contest, said the free music was a good thing for area youths. "It keeps them off the street," Routhier said.

One performer who was shut down said he apologized to many people after calling them and telling them his band, Street Light Theory, was to perform outside the coffee shop.

"I had to apologize to a million people," said Shaun Y. Franks. "I've been at this coffee shop forever. It's kind of like our home."

Gordon G. Stewart III of Niagara Falls said of the bands sent home, "It happens all the time, so I'm kind of used to it."

Gary F. Friese of Niagara Falls, who sold jewelry and carved rocks at the concert, said: "This is a big deal for Niagara Falls. . . . The high school's right over there, so the kids come over and they enjoy it."

e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com

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