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Front Page February 11, 2014  RSS feed

What if? 6,000 at the Expo show!!?

By Sherry Matney

Ken Jones, Ron Filmore and Andy Stewart contribute thoughts on how to manage parking at the Neal McCoy Show at the Expo Center. Sherry’s Shots Ken Jones, Ron Filmore and Andy Stewart contribute thoughts on how to manage parking at the Neal McCoy Show at the Expo Center. Sherry’s Shots The Leon County Expo show starring Neal McCoy, is less than two months away and already $1,060 in tickets sales has been recorded, all from out-of-county or outof state. Tommy Pierce, who owns Tommy’s Music in Centerville and has ties to the music community, is obviously concerned about the “what if” factor of the concert.

At an Expo workshop held on March 29th by the Leon County Commissioners Court to help plan the event, Pierce voiced his concern if a large number, say 6,000 fans, come to the show.

When Pierce addressed the Court he said, “This will make or break the Expo. If this is a bad show it will get around.”

Later Pierce said there are some big name entertainers that have the Expo on their radar and will be extremely interested in how traffic, tickets and crowd control are handled. He also said that while McCoy is a big name to headline the show, Bobby Flores and The Yellow Rose Band, have a very large number of fans who follow them all over the state.

One of Pierce’s concerns comes from an event that took place in Madisonville when Buc-ee’s hosted a Grand Opening and brought in John Anderson as its headliner. According to Pierce the group expected six or seven hundred but more than 5,000 people showed up for the show. Imagine the chaos!

“What if” several thousand fans want to park in the parking areas at the Expo on March 29. Members of the East Texas Mounted Search and Rescue group have volunteered to help with parking vehicles and to maintain order in the parking lot and on the grounds. When and how to park several thousand cars is a situation to which most haven’t given much thought. Andy Stewart, member of ETMSR, suggested that segments be roped off and numbered in a manner that can be used to identify parking areas and may be used in the future. Other volunteer groups will help with parking.

“What if” folks stay in the parking lot and do not come inside the Expo? Pierce was concerned that individuals could listen to the music from their cars or pickups and not pay for a ticket. Commissioner David Ferguson said, “We will have them patrol the lot and make anyone leave that does not have a ticket.”

Outside the Expo is not the only concern. The county will have a substantial amount of money on hand to make change at the ticket booth. Consequently, the Sheriff’s office will have deputies standing close by to guard the employees and their bounty.

“What if” 4 to 6 thousand people really do show up for the show and need tickets? How is that situation best handled? Leon County Auditor’s office has set up an online service whereby tickets may be purchased and printed beforehand. For those interested go to www.stubhub.com. When on the page use the search engine and type in Neal McCoy and this event will come up. Credit or debit cards may be used. Tickets may also be purchased from Ken Jones at the Buffalo Economic Development office in Buffalo; Parthena Moore at her office building in Buffalo across from Citizen’s State Bank; and Beverly Wilson in her office at the County Court House.

“What if” everyone at the show has to go to the restroom at the same time? The Expo’s restrooms will be installed by the time the concert takes place but, if the crowd lives up to expectations, there will be a need for more stations. Judge Byron Ryder said porta-potties, trash cans and a dumpster will be provided by the county. Leon County jail inmates will likely be used to help keep trash picked up and receptacles emptied.

Who will set up and take down the stage? The county has rented a stage, 32x24 x 4.5 tall. Pierce suggested that 4-H kids throughout the county be allowed to help set up and take down the stage and do other chores and in return they be given a free ticket to the concert.

David Bradley, recently hired as the Expo/Civic Center manager, called some potential issues in the proposed Rental Agreement to the Court’s attention, one of them being alcoholic beverages being served at the Expo. The tickets have been printed and sold with BYOB (bring your own bottle) printed on the tickets and the Court agreed that although the Expo is in a “dry” part of the county, it will be acceptable for attendees to bring coolers with drinks and paper cups into the Center.

Several vendors will be conveniently located with a variety of food and soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages will not be sold on the premises.

Bradley also went over the proposed Rental Agreement with questions about specific wording. The Court told him to finalize the Agreement and bring it to Monday’s Court.

Neal McCoy held a concert in Crockett last December and according to Glenn Barnhart with Piney Woods Fine Art Center in Crockett, they had an attendance of between 500 and 600. The venue has 865 reserve seats and when need be additional chairs can be added.

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