Wildwood gearing up for huge event

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Kenny Chesney Kenny Chesney

Expect jammed island for country star’s show

  WILDWOOD- Since the announcement of the free Kenny Chesney concert in Wildwood last week, fans have scrambled to score tickets to the now sold out show. City officials, however, have also been scrambling to make it happen.

“There’s a ton of coordination that is going into this,” City Commissioner Pete Byron said, “It’s amazing.”

Set up for the concert begins on June 14, almost a week before the big night on June 20. Before thousands of fans can snag spots on the beach behind Mariner’s Landing pier (and sing along to Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”) security, vendors, and equipment have to be brought in to transform the beach into a concert venue.

The 11-page production schedule maps out when the steel fence around the venue’s perimeter will be constructed, a count of the number of fork lifts, semis, and cranes needed, and includes even the minute details- like when the portable toilets will deliver.

“They are a well-oiled machine,” Byron said of the AMEX Unstaged, the sponsor bringing the Chesney concert to Wildwood, “Right down to the soap in the porta-potties, they bring everything.”

Byron explained that some “peripheral” things the city will chip in for, like some additional security outside the event venue, but said about 95 percent of what is needed to make the concert happen is provided by American Express.

Because Byron said the concert happened so quickly, there still are some kinks to work out. One such, Byron said, is parking.

“This thing got dropped so quickly, there’s a lot of questions that still haven’t been answered,” he said, “And that’s one of them.”

Byron said that most likely, in addition to the public parking at the convention center and local private parking lots, the city will also be charging concert-goers to park on the beach.

“It’s not going to be easy to navigate the island that day,” Byron said.

Other than radio promotions, tickets for the concert are completely sold out, Byron said. “We’re getting calls from people who can’t get hotels,” Byron said, adding that this concert is going to make a “tremendous impact on the city.” He said that although the city is not collecting ticket fees, the amount of money that will be spent in restaurants and local businesses the days leading up to the concert will be exponentially higher than usual.

“The town is going to be jamming,” Byron said, “Wednesday night, June 20, typically the town isn’t that crowded.”

With over 15,000 people coming to see the concert, as well as those without tickets who will try to sneak a peek at the screens that will show the concert from the boardwalk and perimeter of the beach, Byron said this concert will be a test for the city of Wildwood.

“There are a lot of people using this as a barometer to gage what we can handle,” Bryon said, “Like event promoters who wanted to take a chance on Wildwood but didn’t want to be the first to do it.

“It’s very important that we put up a good show,” he said.

Doors open at 7 p.m. while the concert begins at 8 p.m. and is expected to go for 90 minutes.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at www.shorenewstoday.com.

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