As Curiosity Shoppe cranked out bluesy melodies from a stage near Second Avenue, concert-goers sat in folding chairs on the asphalt, and children twirled and played near inflatables, picking cotton candy from their fingers. Many agreed that the change in venue added a more urban feel to the festivities, making it an even more enjoyable experience.
“I think it’s a viable plan,” said Ben Arp as he stood on the sidewalk near Harvest Moon, looking out into the quickly-growing crowd. “It probably will be beneficial to the businesses here.”
But Arp said he thought having the concerts at Bridgepoint Plaza may have been more family-friendly.
“It may be a little easier for kids to run around,” said Joyce Layday. “This is nice, but there’s more asphalt here.”
Gerardo Guerra and Zach Culp were enjoying the music, they said. The night’s lineup included local bands Curiosity Shoppe, Jerry on the Moon and KneckDown.
“I like it, it’s definitely a bigger venue to hold more people,” Culp said. “But you have to think, if the bands aren’t good enough to bring this crowd of people, it might take away from local businesses, having to close streets down.”
Guerra said he thought the venue change might draw a younger demographic while the switch is still new.
“Younger people, they tend to like something, then move on to the next thing,” he said. “But if you keep innovating, keep things interesting, I’m sure there’s always going to be a good crowd coming out.”
Lt. Roy Willingham with the Rome Police Department said traffic posed a challenge, as well as the fact more officers have to work the event. When it took place at Bridgepoint Plaza, there were one or two officers assigned to the location. Friday night, however, eight officers worked the event.
“With this you have alcohol, people walking around, kids, … I’m hoping it goes well,” he said.