Outdoor concert for downtown OK’d

City commissioners and Lawrence concert promoters are singing from the same sheet of music when it comes to a major outdoor concert in downtown.

Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting unanimously approved a request by Lawrence’s Pipeline Productions to stage a concert featuring the alternative country-rock band Wilco on May 14.

The event will take place on vacant lots near the intersection of Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

“It sounds like fun to me,” City Commissioner Mike Amyx said.

It also could end up being profitable. Brett Mosiman with the Lawrence-based Pipeline Production said the concert would attract people from throughout the Midwest. He said when Wilco – which is a Grammy-winning group that has been receiving significant national attention – played in Kansas City about two years ago, the concert produced ticket sales from 26 states.

“I guarantee you that this event will introduce downtown Lawrence to new people,” Mosiman said.

The event is expected to attract a crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 people. The promoters have struck a deal to use the two vacant lots on the southeast and southwest corner of the intersection. Tuesday’s approval also will allow promoters to close down much of the 900 block of New Hampshire Street to use for the concert. The entire area will be fenced to keep people who haven’t purchased tickets from entering the area, although promoters promised to accommodate people needing to enter and leave the Lawrence Arts Center.

Mosiman said the site is a good one for concerts, in part because it is adjacent to the city’s parking garage. He told commissioners that he wants to hold out the possibility of staging other concerts at the site and said he would be willing to pay the city a fee for the use of the city street.

The concert is expected to run from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., although the street likely will close about 6 a.m. to allow set-up work for the concert to begin. Tickets will go on sale through Pipeline Productions – which includes The Bottleneck and The Granada – on April 4.