Controversy over County Music Festival in North Tonawanda

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

Promoter Mike Gowel is still fighting to have the City’s first ever Country Music Festival in North Tonawanda but concerns over drinking and over night guests are raising eyebrows. Gowel is hoping to have the 2-day event at Gratwick Park in August. Last Tuesday he met again with members of the Common Council addressing concerns about how many people would be camping out.

“We have some contract proposals with different groups, and all of them require that everyone gets their own room or an on-site trailer,” said Gowel.

Currently the number of people sleeping over at the Park stands at 68. It’s something the police department and fire department do not agree with, as well as some members of the common council.

“We originally talked about a small number,” said Alderman-at-Large Bob Pecoraro. “68 is not a small number and that is not a campsite.”

Gowel says it would be similar to the “Thunder on the Niagara” crowd that stays overnight during the summer event.

“There is going to be lights out at 11pm,” said Gowel.

For Common Council President Eric Zadzilka, there is no way to compare a boat race to a Country Music Festival.

“Some aof them at the boat race were from other Countries. We had people from Australia, Canada, New Zeland, they are working on their boat and not partying and drinking,” said Zadzilka.

Gowel says he is going to try and make the number of overnight guests at the park, a smaller number and is going to look again at putting some of the artists up in area motels.

No decisions were made at the Workshop but Gowel says he is going to re-work the numbers and meet again with the police department to address any safety concerns.


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