When it comes to the waterfront concert venues, LaSalle Park is one of the most underutilized concert parks in the region. It’s hard to believe that there is a pavilion just sitting there, ready to go, for just about anyone who is willing to fill out an event permit at City Hall. Honestly, it’s not much harder than that.
Recently I spoke to someone at City Hall about the reasons why this pavilion is not utilized more, and the person was as perplexed as I was. She told me that the pavilion was there for the taking, for those who were interested in getting live much, theater, and other performing art events off the ground. Whether the group is a non-profit or has inroads with the music community, there is an opportunity just waiting for someone to snap it up.
Following are some of the reasons I have heard that the pavilion is rarely used:
- People living in nearby condos don’t appreciate the noise and the crowds, and The City doesn’t want controversy
- It takes a lot of fencing to keep people from just walking into the venue without paying for a ticket
- Lack of parking
- One road leading in and out
- Perception that it is difficult to lease
- Too costly – The City charges $250 a day rental (see here) plus liability insurance
In recent years the only concert that I have come across at LaSalle Park was the Buffalo Funk Fest in honor of Rick James (lead image). Other than that the pavilion goes mainly unused. I suppose I’m not surprised that there aren’t any mega concerts at the site due to some of the above-mentioned logistics, but I would think that there are a handful of organizations in Buffalo that could put the covered stage to good use for smaller scale programming.
This morning a friend of mine passed along a matching grant opportunity through Levitt AMP Your City Grant Awards (see here). The matching $25,000 grant got me to thinking about the type of music series that would be ideal for LaSalle Park. It would probably take a sponsorship/grant model to effectively establish a concert series at this specific waterfront location. As for this particular matching grant, the concerts are required to be free, which is exactly why LaSalle Park would be an ideal fit.
Regardless of the type of music, or even the type of performance, the LaSalle Park pavilion (a Junior League of Buffalo project) should be one of our greatest waterfront assets instead of the lifeless silhouette that it appears to be year after year.
This would be the perfect asset at the Outer Harbor, now that there is so much new-founded activity. I wonder how hard it would be to move to a place where it would actually get used?