Major Concert Festival Set For Ocean City Pushed Back A Week

OCEAN CITY — Concerns about logistics issues are once again moving a major three-day concert and festival planned for September back another week, resort officials learned this week.

The fall special events calendar in the resort is loaded with multiple significant events stacked back-to-back in mid- to late-September. OC BikeFest is scheduled for its usual slot in mid-September. New this year is another major fall special event brought forth by internationally-known promoter C3 Presents, which was planning on bringing a major three-day music festival to the resort on Sept. 23-25. Although the details on the proposed C3 Presents event are not known, or at least have not been made public, the promoter is internationally known for its concerts, festivals and other significant events it produces.

Earlier this year, the Tourism Commission debated the logistics of stacking major special events together in September, including OC BikeFest and the C3 Presents festival. Wedged in there is the annual Wine Fest and the unsanctioned pop-up motorized event in the same stretch. As a result, the commission recommended moving Sunfest to October and the council approved.

Part of the town’s strategy was scheduling the significant special events around the unsanctioned pop-up event in order to fill rooms and make it difficult for participants in that event to find accommodations. The C3 Presents event was scheduled for the same time as the unsanctioned event.

However, Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo informed the Mayor and Council C3 Presents was now desirous of moving its event back one week from Sept. 23-25 to Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

“Since last August, staff from various departments have been working with representatives from C3 Presents to orchestrate details and plan for the three-day event,” he said. “Unfortunately, after exhausting several options and alternatives, there is not enough time for the required set-up in the Inlet lot due to a previously scheduled event occurring Sept. 13-18.”

Perlozzo explained the footprints for OC BikeFest and the C3 Presents event overlap, creating set-up and break-down challenges for the two entities. However, Perlozzo said the date change should not curb the town’s enthusiasm for the C3 Presents event.

“Although the date change is not ideal, Ocean City remains excited to welcome C3 Presents,” he said. “Equally, C3 Presents is excited to hold their event in Ocean City and is confident that moving their event date one week would allow for event promoters to host a world-class event and concert on our beach and Boardwalk. It will absolutely be a feather in Ocean City’s cap. It will be a national and international event.”

Perlozzo explained the concept for the original dates was to help offset the unsanctioned pop-up event.

“I wrote a summary of the sequence of events approved by you all to hold a concert to coincide with the unsanctioned event,” he said. “The concept was to saturate the hotels to make it difficult for the pop-up car rally participants.”

Council Secretary Tony DeLuca said he supported the C3 Presents event completely, but just as he did at the tourism commission level, he questioned why logistics were moving events around the fall calendar.

“I absolutely love this event,” he said. “I am concerned with some of the safety issues. I do have an issue with set-up logistics dictating our special events calendar.”

Councilman Mark Paddack said he was disappointed with the date change, especially since it would have helped with the unsanctioned event to some degree.

“Our public safety people have gone overboard in controlling this event, especially in recent years,” he said. “This is hard to swallow.”

Councilman John Gehrig said he fully supported working with C3 Presents on any date change it desired.

“I love it,” he said. “My vision for Ocean City includes two words – world class. It should be part of everything we do. Whatever weekend we can establish a world-class event with a promoter that produces national and international events, including the NFL draft, we need to partner with them.”

Mayor Rick Meehan was disappointed with the date change, but fully supported the C3 Presents event.

“This is unfortunate,” he said. “It was a good plan, a two-part plan, really. Unfortunately, we have to move it. This is a first-class operation that produces concerts all over the country.”

The council ultimately voted 6-0, with Council President Matt James absent, to approve the date change. City Manager Terry McGean said the logistics concerns came from the promoter and not the town’s departments.

“This was not the town’s logistics issue,” he said. “We would have been ready to do it. This came from the promoter. The promoter is concerned he would not be able to build his event around BikeFest.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.