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Music Festival Eyed For Barker Common

A possible music festival was discussed Wednesday for Barker Common in the village. P-J file photo

A promoter apparently wants to hold a spring Barker Common music festival, coined “Barker Blast,” around the end of the State University of New York at Fredonia’s school year.

The promoter emailed a proposal to the village government and it saw discussion at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees workshop. Village Clerk Annemarie Johnston would not share the email with the OBSERVER, calling it “private.”

Mayor Michael Ferguson promised to provide the name of the promoter, who was not named during the workshop discussion, but had not done so by noon Wednesday.

Johnston said it was the first time the promoter had requested Barker Common and called it “kind of a big deal.”

Police Chief David Price was nervous about the Barker Blast proposal. “Will he be providing security? We don’t have enough staff,” he asked. Price also wondered if the promoter would provide fencing.

The proposal was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting but Trustee Jon Espersen sought to pull it so more information could be gathered. Trustees agreed.

Price continued with his concerns.

“I have two or three cops on the road and he wants to put thousands in a controlled area. We’re not bouncers. We’re not security guards,” he said. “I wouldn’t even have enough people to call in for a massive event like that.”

Trustee Nicole Siracuse wondered if University Police could provide assistance. Ferguson said he wanted to meet with the promoter, police chief Price, the university police chief and the fire chief about the proposal.

“We want the park to be as full as it can every weekend,” Espersen said, noting that the village is trying to boost ties with SUNY Fredonia, and stating that notes of concern about the proposal shouldn’t be seen as an indication otherwise.

“As a former concert promoter, you want everything in place long before,” said Ferguson.

Price, seemingly aghast that officials were even considering a Barker Blast, groaned soon after, “Oh, my God.”

The end of SUNY Fredonia’s school year means “Fred Fest,” an unofficial party weekend which stole its name from a campus-sanctioned music festival that was ended about a decade ago over rowdiness concerns. Espersen said the promoter behind Barker Blast did a large event on Central Avenue a few years back that drew hundreds.

“He has no control and oversight,” Price said of the promoter, referring to the Central Avenue party. “He’s just trying to stuff people into a backyard and drink there.”

“He needs a much clearer plan as to what’s going on,” Ferguson said of the Barker Blast proposal.

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