By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette — It appears as though the city of Niagara Falls will get an encore from KC and the Sunshine Band after all.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, lawmakers unanimously approved the rescheduling of a KC and the Sunshine Band concert that was canceled earlier this year due to inclement weather.
Both council Chairman Sam Fruscione and council member Glenn Choolokian, both vocal critics of the series and costs associated to it paid for by the city, said that they were only voting yes to the measure because the concert had already been paid for before voting.
"Everybody knows that I'm not a big fan favorite on the Hard Rock concerts at the taxpayers' expense, but this is a make-up concert that's already been paid for so I vote yes," Choolokian said.
The original concert, scheduled for Aug. 11, was part of the city sponsored 2012 Hard Rock Cafe outdoor series on Old Falls Street. A severe thunderstorm that included heavy rain and wind prevented the disco legend and his band from taking the stage that evening.
As per the city's concert agreement with Hard Rock Cafe International, Inc. the show is to be rescheduled "at a future date and time that is mutually agreeable" to the city, the Hard Rock and the artist.
Mayor Paul Dyster's administration says two future dates have emerged as possible contenders, including Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 and Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. The administration has asked the council to allow for the rescheduling of the show to one of those dates, suggesting Aug. 10 would be "preferable."
Dyster said that he was glad that his administration and Hard Rock officials were able to work something out without involving the courts.
"I think this is an example of something that could have ended up with a lot of finger pointing and litigation," Dyster said. "I think this came out as a win-win."
Dyster's administration says the cost of the band and the promotion fees for the future concert have already been paid by the Hard Rock under its agreement with the city and that the city will be responsible for the cost of services provided during the event, which had already been committed.
Dyster said that he and Fruscione have discussed the future of the Hard Rock concert series, which has received city sponsorship in previous years. With the current fiscal difficulties that the city is facing Dyster is going to try to find an alternate funding source so that the city might still be able to provide assistance, if at a lesser rate, and keep people coming downtown in the summer.
Fruscione did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
"Obviously there are still a lot of questions about whether we can continue to participate in the concert series," Dyster said. "We're happy with the spin-off investment and we want to keep that positive forward momentum."
Dyster said that the city's inability to continue sponsoring the series the way that it has in the past is a sign of the fiscal difficulties caused by the lack of casino cash.
"The uncertainty in the Hard Rock series is just another example of the impact of the casino revenues," Dyster said.Big Red Number AUG. 10 One of two dates in 2013 for a rescheduled KC and the Sunshine Band show. The other is Aug. 31.