(Originally published April 25, 2013)
Leave the backpacks at home.
They won’t be allowed at Rockin’ on the River events in Cuyahoga Falls this year.
Organizer Bob Earley said he and other event planners met with city representatives last week for their annual preseason meeting. During the session, he was asked how he felt about not allowing backpacks at the concerts, which have made some people nervous in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Earley said he didn’t hesitate.
“It’s a win-win,” he said. “There’s no reason to have a backpack or duffel bag anyway. Everyone’s a little scared in today’s world. There can’t be one person against this.”
Backpacks have also become carriers for mobile meth labs, which can be just as explosive as a pipe bomb, he added.
Anyone seen with a backpack will be asked to return it to their vehicle.
The free concert series will begin its 27th year May 24.
Earley said he and the city have a great history working together to keep the event safe and enjoyable.
A couple of years ago, the city implemented a curfew to keep minors not in the company of an adult away from the evening concerts.
Prior to the curfew, hundreds of unsupervised kids, some as young as 10, would hang out at the riverfront during the concerts and festivals. There were more than a half-dozen reported assaults and robberies in the area and fights every weekend.
The curfew cured the problem, Earley said.
“It has been phenomenal. There have been no arrests, no nothing,” Earley said. “We still welcome kids, but they come with their parents.”
Police Chief Thomas Pozza could not be reached for comment.
For a schedule of concerts at Riverfront Centre, visit www.rockinontheriver.com.