A country music star will perform next month at a local farm for as many as 20,000 fans if the Douglas County Commission approves a special-event permit request.
Commissioners at their 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday will consider allowing singer Luke Bryan to perform Friday, Sept. 29, on the farm of Dale Flory, 1038 North 600 Road. The site is about 1.5 miles west of U.S. Highway 59 and 6 miles south of Lawrence. The permit application states the property would be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. the day of the concert.
Bryan, the 2015 Country Music Association entertainer of the year, has been making annual fall farm tours since 2009. Dennis Freeman, who made the special-use permit application for the concert for the Nashville-based Row Crop LLC, said the Douglas County stop was one of six on the 2017 farm tour’s six-state schedule.
Freeman said he was charged with securing permits for the farm tour. No permit for one of Bryan’s farm tour concerts has ever been denied, he said.
Promoters appear to be confident that will be the case in Douglas County. The event is being advertised, and tickets are already on sale.
The event permit application states that attendance is not to exceed 20,000 people and that about 15 food vendors will be on hand for the event. Event organizers have requested 32 sheriff’s deputies to supplement the 100 private security guards at the event. Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said concert promoters would compensate the county for the deputies’ time. Thirty-five parking attendants are slated to work the event.
Freeman referred further comment on the event to Bryan’s management firm, KP Entertainment. Journal-World phone calls requesting information from the Nashville-based firm were not returned Tuesday.
Sean Reid, Douglas County director of zoning and codes, said he and representatives from the sheriff’s office, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical and Willow Springs Township met with Freeman to explain the county’s planning process.
County zoning is recommending that a number of conditions be added as part of the permit, Reid said. In addition to limiting attendance to 20,000, it's requested that event promoters provide adequate parking to prevent parking on roads' rights of way, that dust control be added to North 600 and North 650 roads at least a week before the concert and that an insurance bond be submitted that indemnifies the county from any liability.
The county also required promoters to notify neighbors who live within 1,000 feet of the concert site. The county has received no public comment about the concert, Reid said.
Rachel Renyer, who lives about a quarter mile west of the Flory property at 1023 North 600 Road, said neighbors were aware of the concert. She has already bought tickets for her family and visiting relatives from Nebraska.
Renyer is not concerned about traffic, noise, parking or other issues.
“I don’t care,” she said. “I’ll be there.”
Event traffic and parking are on the minds of John and Connie Hey, who live to the northeast of the concert site at 1146 North 650 Road. They're concerned about the traffic backing up in front of their driveway as drivers attempt to park in fields around the concert stage.
The promoters were required to make culvert improvements to two access points to the field parking lots, Reid said. The final number of on-site parking spaces is to be provided to the county 48 hours before the concert, he said.
Pumpkin patch request
Also before commissioners Wednesday is an agribusiness request that would allow a second seasonal pumpkin patch to open in the Kansas River Valley east of Lawrence. Richard Strong is requesting the permit for Li’l Charlie’s Pumpkin Patch at 1919 North 1500 Road. The property is immediately west of the Schaake Pumpkin Patch, which has been open seasonally since the 1970s.
The permit application states the patch would be open from 9 a.m. to dark Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the pumpkin season of mid-September through Halloween. Among its activities: pumpkin picking, farm tours and exhibits, a corn maze, a farm petting zoo, wagon rides, kids' games and pumpkin launching.
A proposed condition for commissioners’ consideration would prohibit customer parking on North 1500 Road. The application states 40 on-site parking spaces would be provided.
Strong’s application for the county agribusiness permit follows his registration of the seasonal pumpkin patch as an agritourism business with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
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