Will Godsmack get smacked down in Watertown?

The Alex Duffy Fairgrounds baseball field / photo: Andy Wolf

Will a popular rock band's concert be cancelled over safety and crowd concerns at a North Country baseball field?

A controversy is brewing in the Jefferson County city of Watertown over an upcoming concert by the rock group Godsmack . The promoters of the concert, Watertown-based AMP Entertainment, are complaining that the city has yet to give them permission for the event, which is scheduled to take place on August 20. "It's put my back against the wall," promoter Sebby Abbate told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.

Abbatte said he's already invested a lot of money into attracting Godsmack to Watertown and promoting the event. He says the dispute has already affected advanced sale tickets. Abbate says normally this close to a concert, he would have sold more than 3,000 tickets, but so far only 1,200 tickets have been sold.

Watertown City Manager Mary Corribeau met Monday morning with city department heads, who have raised concerns about public safety at the concert, which is expected to be held at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds .

Mayor Jeffrey Graham tells CNY Central TMs Jim Kenyon that the show is expected to attract 7,000 or more concertgoers, which brings up issues of crowd control, alcohol consumption, and restroom facilities. Graham says that the fairgrounds is little more than a baseball field, so there is a question as to whether the facility is large enough to handle such a concert.

"This is not a large performing arts center, it's a ball field and the ability to handle large crowds is somewhat limited. Also these events are directly proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed." Graham said.

Abbate responded, "I've been doing shows in Watertown for nine years now. I've had heavier bands that are heavy metal bands. Godsmack is a hard rock act. I've never had any issues or problems."

According to the city's website, the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds are "the city's busiest year round facility with over 150,000 people attending events or using the facilities. The Fairgrounds is the major regional recreation facility in Watertown." In addition to the baseball stadium, the fairgrounds feature county fair buildings, an RV park, a picnic area, other athletic fields, and indoor sporting facilities.

Graham points out that they have had prior concerts, which went well in his opinion, featuring country artists such as Reba McIntyre and Keith Urban.

Corribeau says she and city officials have come up with a list of concerns, and intend to meet with the promoters soon. What concerns do you think should be on that list?

The same promoters are in the process of setting up for a similar concert, which takes place tonight in a nearby arena. Buckcherry is the headlining act. This concert is not expected to attract as large of a crowd as Godsmack.