Summer Canalside concerts no longer free

May 19, 2017

Expect some changes for this summer's concert series on Buffalo's waterfront: a $5 entry fee and a new name.

Be Our Guest President Jon Dandes says it is not clear how many people can pay the $5 entry and watch concerts from inside the security perimeter.        

"We're going to experiment with the first show," he says. "We think it's 10,000 and that's one of the reasons that we're going to do the pre-sale of tickets to put out that many tickets out and see how that works. It might be 6,000 or it might be 12,000. Frankly, we've never had a really good number. We think we will be able to do that now."

Pre-sale tickets are now available from Consumer's Beverage locations around Western New York, as well as at Canalside's kiosk. If you buy early, there are freebies. Canalside General Manager Matt LaSota says there also is a liquid reward for buying in advance.

"The real highlights is not only do we get to know how many people are coming. The real highlight of that is everyone who does that pre-sale will get a free drink at the concerts, whether it's a soda, water, beer, wine," LaSota says. "That's really the way to entice people to get out here and pre-sell, a very important thing to note."

What is not changing is a lot of good music for what will now be called Canalside Live on Thursdays. This season's line-up is a varied array of shows this season, led by bluesman Gary Clark Jr., hip hop performers Slick Rick and Ghostface Killah and country artist Eric Paslay.

Dandes says there has been a lot of work to make sure a visit is a good experience for ticket buyers.

"We've been trying to get up to speed on all of the events that were here last year and, really, we've been focused on this guest experience and this customer experience that we think we can update," Dandes says. "And part of what we're doing today is talking about what the concertgoer will feel like when they get here. That's why we have spent a lot of time talking about food and beverage and talking a lot about parking and about traffic getting to and from here."

Dandes says the series will be doing a lot of work on social media to make the public aware there is usually a lot of available parking space, on the outer side of the HarborCenter, within easy walking distance.

He says organizers also continue to look at how many people can attend events, with the future prospect of moving to the Outer Harbor, as the series was moved from Lafayette Square.