Popular Free Canalside Concert Series to Stay in Buffalo

Buffalo music fans are rejoicing today after news that the popular, free Thursday Central Wharf concert series will be back next summer. The decision comes after concerns were raised by nearby residents and a controversial vote by the Buffalo Common Council.


The concert series will continue, at least for next summer at the Central Wharf where the series has been held since 2012. Bizjournals.com has reported that Global Spectrum, which manages the Canalside property for the Erie County Harbor Development Council and books the concerts, is already working on landing national acts for the 2016 summer season.

Earlier this fall, residents of the nearby Marine Drive Apartments complained about the noise from the shows and problems related to the large crowds of concertgoers. The Buffalo Common Council agreed with the Marine Drive residents and pushed for the concerts to be moved. The vote caused outrage and appeared to be a hasty decision made based on a small amount of complaints.

Moving the concert series to the city’s Outer Harbor property was suggested, but the move was highly contested by area businesses, mostly bars and restaurants. They argued a moved to the new location would hurt the growth of their businesses as well as the continued development of the Central Wharf property.

The concert series began in 1987 and was held in Buffalo’s Layfette Square. Organizers moved the event in summer 2012 to accommodate the series’ growing success. Past artists have included a variety of acts of musical genres. This past summer featured free music from Umphrey’s McGee, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, EnVogue, Everclear, Yonder Mountain String Band and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. This past summer, more than 150,000 people attended one of the free harbor Thursday shows.

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