Airport allows use of parking lot for music festival

Shuttle bus will bring festivalgoers from dirt lot to Veterans Park.

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Commissioners discuss allowing use of parking lot C for the Beach Road Weekend music festival.

Airport commissioners unanimously agreed at their Thursday meeting to allow Innovation Arts and Entertainment to use a dirt parking lot at the airport for the Beach Road Weekend music festival.

The festival, which will be headlined by the likes of John Fogerty, Phil Lesh, Dispatch, and the Original Wailers, takes place on the weekend of August 9-11.

Adam Epstein, CEO of Innovation Arts and Entertainment, said the parking lot at the airport is a perfect remote site for people to park their cars, then be shuttled to the concert via bus.

Assistant airport director Geoff Freeman said he thinks lot C will be the best option, as it is unpaved and often has plenty of empty space to park during the peak summer season. “Normally we use that lot for overflow of rental cars, but during that period, a lot of those spots are open,” Freeman said.

Epstein told commissioners he is going to implement a comprehensive strategy for parking that will make the flow of traffic seamless, and will mitigate any impact on airport operations.

He said parking attendants and security details will be provided to ensure the parking lot is safe, clean, and orderly.

He also offered to provide lighting in the parking lot at night for people coming back to their cars in the dark. Freeman advised Epstein that there is no direct power source available in lot C, but Epstein said he should be able to find a generator to provide power. “We are already getting, I believe, about four generators for the festival, so one more generator shouldn’t be a problem to obtain,” Epstein said.

Commissioner Peter Wharton mentioned cleanup after the event, and wondered how Innovation Arts and Entertainment could eliminate waste and litter that are often an issue at large, multiday festivals. “People tend to come back from these things and throw a red cup out of the window and drive off,” Wharton said.

Epstein said all cleanup would be taken care of, and he would put a bond up as a gesture of good faith to the airport.

Wharton followed up by asking how traffic will be controlled within the parking lot, in order to determine who is there for the concert, and who is there for airport business.

“How are we going to know that people who are going to the event aren’t taking up a three-day spot in a lot otherwise dedicated to airport operations?” Wharton asked. “We need to make sure people are impinging on the spots that we need.”

Epstein said attendants will direct people where to park, and hang tags will be given to those who prepaid for parking, in order to distinguish festivalgoers from airport personnel or visitors.

Commissioner Richard Knabel said he doesn’t want the parking lot “to turn into a jigsaw puzzle,” and Epstein responded by ensuring him that a professional site planner will use a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program to plot the optimal parking layout.

According to commission chair Bob Rosenbaum, parking lot C can hold up to 250 cars.

The commission requested that Epstein pay his $10,000 fee by July 11, and Epstein agreed. In the meantime, Epstein said he would investigate the availability of an additional generator to accommodate parking at the airport.