So say the Yard’s promoters, hey and they should know. But at second blush, there’s a lot to like about the area’s newest outdoor concert and event venue. There also is some rather obvious room for improvement, and organizers vow to make them prior to next spring and summer’s outdoor concert season.
Walking in to my first concert there (I caught Monty Summers ultimate fight showdown a few weeks back), the venue is open and impressive. Easy access in and excellent sight lines to the stage. The venue dresses out equally well for boxing and similar outdoor events as well btw.
The sound was excellent, but the bathroom, beer and bar lines were the subject of numerous complaints. Unfortunately five of the night’s bartenders phoned in sick or no-showed leaving the venue critically short on a night where around 600 of the 1,650 in attendences “walked” or bought tickets that night.
That brings us to the bathroom situation. Management – who don’t like seeing their names in print – say they plan to open doorways from the Backyard directly into them, so patrons won’t have to traffic around from outside to the interior of the club to get to the facilities. What they don’t plan to do: install porta potties similar to those in the Crossroads.
As for the grass – you know the stuff people walk on – it could and will get better, promoters say. Something about having a concert the day after it was installed.
“We’re going to try and put more grass down and then not have a concert the next day,” says one staffer.
At this stage of the game – unlike the Crossroads again – organizers say they only plan to host about one outdoor concert a month. Versus the multitude of shows going down at the Crossroads. And they still are sorting out sound issues to keep a few of their Westport neighbors happy.
A city staffer with a sound measurment device was reportedly spotted checking sound pressure levels outside the venue during G Love and Big Head Todd’s show last Friday.
To that end, in the interim, the stage has been moved as far north – away from Manor Square – as possible, with the sound directed to the east, away from the heart of Westport. One possible problem/solution: it seems that when the movie theater – now occupied by the Tivoli – was built, it wasn’t well insulated for sound. Past outdoor shows have generated complaints from the theater. However, it’s hoped that with fine tuning and possibly the addition of more insulation, any such problems will be eliminated.
The $64 million question: whatever is to become of those City Market concerts that used to be so frequent but now are so few? That after the city turned its back on the very local promoters who built up the venue and sent them packing to Westport and the Crossroads.