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The Columbus Area Arts Council thanks everyone who came out to Rock the Park on Aug. 17. The weather was beautiful, Those Valiants and REO Speedwagon gave solid performances, and most importantly, the crowd was great.
This was the sixth Rock the Park concert conducted in Mill Race Park and, with each year, the audience has grown in proportion to the popularity of the performing band. This year’s attendance was again more than 7,000 people.
As is typical following any of our events, we have received a lot of feedback from attendees. Overwhelmingly, this feedback has been positive. We appreciate those who take the time to say “job well done” as well as those who have suggestions for improvement.
Following last year’s concert featuring Foreigner, the Arts Council Board, staff, Columbus Parks Department and representatives of our major sponsors took feedback from the community and Rock the Park patrons to better prepare for an even more successful 2013 event.
We addressed security issues by hiring an outside security and event service, we contracted for additional Sheriff’s deputies, and we installed better temporary fencing around the perimeter of the park. We took special care to establish a handicap accessibility area. And, to improve egress into the event, the responsibility of checking IDs was passed on to the alcohol vendor.
It may be stating the obvious, but this is a ticketed rock concert in a public park that was not designed for such events. The biggest challenge we face every year is to transform this open space into a secure concert venue. There will always be limits to what can be done when reconfiguring beautiful Mill Race Park, and we work tirelessly to ensure that all who attend are safe and entertained. Rock the Park is unique and special to Columbus. It is fun, it is affordable, and it is in the heart of our downtown Arts District.
In the coming weeks Arts Council Board members and staff will again meet with sponsors and planners to discuss issues raised this year to continue to improve on a plan that better serves attendees for future events.
In closing, we again thank the patrons who attended Rock the Park, the sponsors who ensured that ticket prices were affordable to nearly every budget, the volunteers who helped us pull it off, the City of Columbus and every event partner who worked alongside us.
We look forward to seeing everyone at one of our many upcoming events.
Karen Shrode is executive director of the Columbus Area Arts Council.
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