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Canalside Live summer concert season is canceled

A summer music tradition has been canceled for 2020. The Canalside Live summer concert series on the downtown waterfront has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"While keeping the health and safety of both visitors and staff at the forefront, Be Our Guest is hopeful there may be an opportunity to hold individual or third-party concerts in late summer or early fall 2020. Those potential opportunities will be determined based on the progression of the pandemic along with federal and state mandates at the time," a press release from Be Our Guest Ltd. and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation read.

Only two concerts had been announced so far for the season, including one by a third-party promoter.

Canalside had announced a Moe. concert on July 16. Refunds for that show can be requested through Eventbrite. For tickets purchased with cash at the box office, email info@buffalowaterfront.com to make arrangements for a cash refund.

Also booked was a July 18 Rick Ross concert, which has been postponed. Previously purchased tickets will be honored on a new date that is yet to be announced. Questions about that show can be emailed to the promoter at EventageLiveEvents@gmail.com.

The announcement may not mean an end to all activities at Canalside and the Outer Harbor, however.

In the same statement, Be Our Guest Vice President Kevin Parkinson said they are "continuing to plan for a socially distant summer season of programming while working within state and federal guidelines. We will continue to keep our guests informed of any changes or updates at the Buffalo Waterfront and in the meantime encourage the public to enjoy passive recreation activities at both Outer Harbor and Canalside."

Canalside Live is an outgrowth of a downtown concert series with roots going back to 1987 with the free series Thursdays at the Park in Fountain Plaza. The first concert featured Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps. The following year, it moved to Lafayette Square and became Thursdays at the Square with a lineup continuing its focus on local bands. In 1993, the series expanded to include popular Canadian acts such as Blue Rodeo and Lowest of the Low. In 2000, the series drew record-breaking crowds at concerts featuring acts such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Pat Benatar.

To help with large crowds, some of the concerts were moved to the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf in 2011. Over the next few years, the name would change to Thursdays at the Harbor and then, once the move was made to Canalside, Thursdays at Canalside in 2013.

Over the years, the concerts also changed from being free to paid admission.

In 2019, the Canalside Live series ended the more than 30-year tradition of weekly Thursday night concerts by hosting them on other nights in an effort to book "the best available bands."

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