Columbia Co. making changes after Lady A concert at new park

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

EVANS, Ga. -- The concert of the year is in the books and now Columbia County is taking notes on how it all went.

About 5,000 people packed the new Evans Town Center Park Friday night for the Lady Antebellum homecoming concert.

It's the county's first big musical event at the park and now they're talking about what worked, and what didn't.

"Overall, we had a great success. We had a big crowd out here had a lot of people working, everybody worked together. We worked as a team," said Columbia County Director of Construction and Maintenance Matt Schlachter.

The homecoming concert was the first event of this size for the county. A couple thousand people covered the grass, but they believe they can go bigger.

"We think with some minor tweaks we could probably get another 2,000 or 3,000 people out here for a good concert," Schlachter said.

It's a park that's been in the works for years, and even the superstar musicians were impressed.

"Other than the show tonight, that we're honored to be here for, there's a great, beautiful park that's here and that will be for people to enjoy for years to come," Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum told reporters Friday night.

"Lady A's management actually told us we have the nicest dressing room that they've ever been in, so we're really proud of our venue that we have here," Schlachter said.

But there were a few hiccups. Next time there will likely be more trash cans and bathrooms around the park.

"Any time you have 5,000 people, you're going to have a lot of trash to worry about. We had a lot of long lines for bathrooms; we'll know for future reference to have more bathrooms out here," Schlachter said.

A few noise complaints also trickled in.

"So far I've heard of two noise complaints across Washington Road, saying that it was loud and kinda wanted us to stop it earlier. Our noise ordinance allows us to go to 11, but we did have everything shut down by 9, so we were well ahead of our curfew for noise ordinance," Schlachter said.

But overall, they were pleased.

"We learned a lot of things from our first event and looking forward to bigger and better things," he added.

The county has planted some trees to act as a sound barrier for the noise, but it will take a few years for them to grow tall enough to solve that problem.

The county says they're in talks with some "big name" artists to keep the hype of the park going. They describe them as some up-and-coming country groups, and some more established rock-and-roll groups.

There will be some smaller performances there this winter, but most of the action will be next spring and summer.


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