One Reel has canceled the 2006 Summer Nights concert series at Gas Works Park, saying it will skip a year and focus on the future: "At this point we simply have run out of time to execute the concert series at the level of excellence that our audiences, artists and community partners expect. We'll continue to work closely with the city, the community and our partners to launch Summer Nights at Gas Works in June 2007," stated One Reel Chief Operating Officer Sheila Hughes. The decision follows weeks of controversy and a lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Feb. 21, by nonprofit advocacy group Friends of Gas Works Park, aimed at blocking the series.
No Peace in the Parks
Despite cancellation of this summer's concerts planned for Gas Works Park, the revolt isn't over in many corners of the city.
The suit claimed that the city's Department of Parks and Recreation had violated state law by not reviewing the concert series' environmental impact. Other neighborhood concerns included noise and traffic congestion, the lack of community input prior to the City Council decision, and the use of public space for commercial purposes. An initial hearing on the lawsuit had been scheduled for March 16.
The concert series dates to 1991, when it debuted with a lineup of adult-friendly pop acts on Pier 62/63, against the scenic backdrop of Elliott Bay. It moved to South Lake Union last year, to allow the pier to undergo structural improvements. Development in the South Lake Union area once again prompted producer One Reel to look for a new site, but the announcement of the move to Gas Works, just days before Christmas, caught many neighborhood residents by surprise.
One Reel's troubles are not confined to the Summer Nights series; in early February, the organization announced that Seattle's popular summer arts festival, Bumbershoot, will be reduced from the usual four days to three to save costs and consolidate resources.