Rain-soaked concert leaves behind a mud-caked mess at Canalside

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – In show business they say, “The show must go on.” Despite the pouring rain Thursday night, the new management company decided to go ahead with the first free concert of the summer at Canalside, leaving the venue a muddy mess.

Global Spectrum decided the concert, featuring the national act “Shaggy,” should go on.

“We are being tested, right now, as well as Mother Nature is kind of playing games with us. But I think we are excited to be down here, really happy with the layout, how we designed the floor plan of the park,” said Ryan Coate, Global Spectrum’s Canalside manager, Thursday night.

But there was no floor plan, Friday morning – just a mud pit in front of the soundstage, with hardly a blade of grass to be found, and less than a week to get ready for the next free concert.

Looking over the muck from the night before, “Steve” who left the concert when the rain got to be too much, said Canalside officials are going to have to do something.

“If they are going to do that every Thursday, I’m not going to be standing over there in the mud, in sneakers and stuff.”

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, owner of the Erie Canal complex downtown known as Canalside, recognized the problem and got to work immediately to figure out their options.

A fence was put up to keep people out of the muck, and Tom Dee, president of the corporation, said development corporation staff and professional landscapers were on site Friday morning, assessing the soggy mess.

Among the options for fixing the mud pit, Dee said they could plant grass seed, or “we could re-sod it, which is the way it was put in originally. But we probably want to look at the drainage. We’ve had problems with the site in terms of drainage for the last several years.”

Dee figures the concert area is only about 10 percent of the acreage at Canalside, so they could move the stage around in the park, similar to the way farmers rotate their crops.

“We can re-shuffle, in terms of where the concert is. We can put the stage in several different locations. So we just need to be ready for next Thursday.”

Canalside officials, says Dee, are also calling on Bisons officials for advice.

“I think one of the things they do is roll out mats, sometimes, on the parts that are going to be the most congested, and that may be something that we learn from this that we have to do that in the future.”

Dee pointed out the Bisons have hosted a number of concerts at the downtown stadium in all kinds of weather and their grounds crew seems to have reduced care of their baseball field down to a science.

Dee said despite the trampled muddy concert venue at Canalside, every event Friday went ahead as scheduled.

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