Town Party plan is a go, James Taylor, Blues Traveler to headline

UPDATED THURSDAY 9:45 A.M. — It’s a bit of a scaled-down version of what was originally proposed, but an expanded Greenwich Town Party for 2013 is now officially a go.

And now the headline acts have been revealed. On Thursday morning, event organizers announced that the legendary James Taylor will be the main act for the party, joined by other high profile bands like Blues Traveler and Michael Franti and Spearhead. The Harlem Gospel Choir, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue as well as Caroline Jones will be performing as well for the main part of the show. And this year there will be more Greenwich Town Party to go around.

Last month, the Board of Selectmen first heard the vision of including Greenwich Avenue in the party, which has taken place in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park for the past two years to great response from residents and town officials. Event organizers outlined a “walking mall” plan that would cover a large section of the Avenue, connecting it to the main setup in the park, and allow for more people to attend the festivities and include local businesses.

However, concerns over having enough Greenwich police officers available to provide adequate security and traffic control for the event, which takes place on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, forced a redesign. But the compromise vision, which now centers the expanded action around the parking lot in the Havemeyer Building on Greenwich Avenue, does have the full support of both the Police Department and the selectmen, who unanimously approved the plan with no debate needed at their March 14 meeting.

Now the big question remains, Who will be the main acts of this year’s party? The 2012 party featured performances by the legendary Paul Simon and by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and a surprise drop-in by Dave Matthews. So the announcement of the 2013 lineup has been eagerly awaited and is expected to be made official today, March 21. Even when pressed by the selectmen to give some clues, town resident Scott Weicker, who spoke on behalf of the party, kept a poker face and didn’t give the slightest of hints, saying only that today is set to be the day.

For the latest news on the Greenwich Town Party, including who will be performing, check Greenwich-post.com today.

Even with a scaled-down plan for expansion, Mr. Weicker said he was confident that this year’s Town Party would build on the success of the previous two years by including the businesses on the Avenue. Under this plan, the parking lot at Havemeyer, which is used as the headquarters of the Board of Education, would be turned into a satellite location where a stage would be set up for local bands to perform along with children’s activities, including magicians, balloon performers and face painting, and food trucks. The parking lot is right next to the Greenwich Common, which is expected to be used as a picnic area.

Free parking will be provided by Richards and in the nearby town of Greenwich lot. There will also be shuttle bus service between the satellite location and the main one in the park.

“Our goal is to have a true town party for individuals, families and local businesses,” Mr. Weicker said. “By extending to Greenwich Avenue from the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, we hope to draw business to our local businesses. … This is going to be a wonderful event for individuals and families in Greenwich. I think the Greenwich Town Party has done a remarkable job for them, but we also want to draw greater focus to our local businesses and see how they can also be a part of the Town Party.”

Mr. Weicker said he understood why the police had concerns about the original, more expansive plan and that he worked closely with GPD Capt. Timothy Berry on creating this alternative. Capt. Berry appeared at the March 14 meeting but it wasn’t necessary for him to speak given his prior endorsement to the plan. There was also input from town Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Siciliano, and Mr. Weicker said the Board of Education had also given its approval, as had the town Parking Services Department and Greenwich Emergency Medical Services.

First Selectman Peter Tesei thanked Mr. Weicker for making the amended submission and “taking into consideration all of the limitations and current set of circumstances” for the town.

“I think this is a very nice addition to the overall event,” Mr. Tesei added.

Selectman David Theis called it a “very well-thought-out” plan before giving his approval, and no debate was needed on it.

The party will take place on Saturday, May 25, and the satellite location will be in operation from noon to 6 p.m. It will be free for people to attend this part of the Town Party. Tickets for the main part of the party in the park are expected to go on sale on April 8 and, given past precedent, are expected to sell out fast. The selectmen gave their approval for a ticket table to be set up at Town Hall, and people will also be able to purchase tickets at Greenwichtownparty.com. Ticket sales will be limited to Greenwich residents, Greenwich organizations, and Greenwich business owners and their employees. However, non-Greenwich residents may attend as guests.

Interested local bands who want to perform at the party are also being encouraged to use the website to apply.

 

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