CLEARWATER - Following last year's Next Big Thing concert at Coachman Park, Mayor Frank Hibbard said, "I wonder if this concert isn't better off indoors or somewhere else." Hibbard won't have to wonder any longer.
Earlier this month, Radio station WSUN 97X announced that it has pulled the plug at Coachman Park, and is taking its annual alternative rock concert to the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa.
In a statement published on the radio station's web site, 97X Program Director Michael Sharkey explained the reasons for the move. "There were always so many things we wanted to do at Coachman, and just couldn't due to it's size. We had a second stage the first two years, but we couldn't bring it back due to space limitations. Now, we can have a true second stage, there's more beer lines, more bathrooms, more interactive areas and most importantly, more of YOU! The Ford Amphitheater comfortably holds another 5000 people."
Unmentioned, but likely contributing to the move, were recent actions taken by the Clearwater City Council to impose a $2,500 fine on radio station employees for each on-stage use of the F-word, and to limit the average sound level to 95-dB.
Last year's Next Big Thing was the last big thing, the first Sunday in December returning to peacefulness for those living in Clearwater's Downtown, Island Estates, Harbor Oaks and Old Clearwater Bay neighborhoods, the loud music and profanity replaced by… well nothing. The city has not booked another event to take its place.
Island Estates resident Joe Butler, a critic of past Next Big Thing events, welcomes the change; "That kind of concert doesn't belong in Coachman Park," he said.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition