First Thursdays comes to the Canton Waterfront Park this Thursday with Joan Osborne, Joseph Arthur and Marah. We spoke with Sean Flanagan, president of the Canton Community Association, about the nuts and bolts of the concert series and its community impact.
How long will First Thursdays be in Canton?
Flanagan: At this point, the concert series will be here for a year.
Why was the Canton Waterfront Park chosen as the new venue for First Thursdays?
Flanagan: Steve Yasko, general manager at WTMD, said that ZIP code 21224 has the second-highest concentration of WTMD listeners. The neighborhood is also walkable and near bars and restaurants, which is important, because 65 percent of First Thursdays concert-goers buy dinner or drinks before or after the show. Also, he said the view from the Canton Waterfront Park is amazing.
What is the expected attendance?
Flanagan: We estimate about 2,000-2,500 attendees. The Canton Waterfront Park is larger than the Mt. Vernon space, so it could be higher. We really don’t know.
Where will all of these people park?
Flanagan: WTMD’s web site says that about 1,000 spaces will be available in lots. Some are free, some are fee based. (Attendees can pre-pay for some spaces with Parking Panda.) All attendees are strongly advised to park south of Boston St. The idea is to limit the number of people who park on the streets in the neighborhood. Visit the WTMD website for details and maps: www.wtmd.org.
What time does the concert start?
Flanagan: The park opens at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. We moved back the time from 5:30 p.m. to empty out the parking lots in Canton so we could have a seamless transition between daytime workers and shoppers and First Thursdays concert goers.
Will there be security?
Flanagan: Yes, six police officers and one sergeant.
Has the neighborhood been made aware of the concert and its impact on traffic and parking?
Flanagan: Yes, WTMD flyered the neighborhood, and the CCA has put out the word.
Has more public transportation been added for the event?
Flanagan: No. The water taxis are aware of the event, but no additional boats will be running. (Yasko notes that WTMD does not have a relationship with Uber or Lyft, the peer to peer car services, at this time.)
Are traffic management measures in place?
Flanagan: The CCA will have individuals helping to direct traffic and walkers across Boston St.
Will alcohol be available at the concert?
Flanagan: Yes. Brewer’s Art will be providing beer, wine, and cider at reasonable prices. (Steve Yasko says that Brewer’s Art has been a longtime sponsor of First Thursdays and has the exclusive right to sell alcohol at the concerts.)
Can concert goers bring their own?
Flanagan: Attendees are asked not to bring their own alcohol, but may bring their own food.
Is the event family-friendly?
Flanagan: I have never attended First Thursdays, but I am told that it is family friendly. The target audience is mid-to-late 30s.
Any advice for Canton residents?
Flanagan: It might not be a bad idea to get home earlier if you can, to secure your street parking space, and plan accordingly for traffic. This is the first concert. It’s going to be a learning experience for all of us.
by Danielle Sweeney