Saturday, August 20, 2016

Blog share Advocate: Sandy Goldstein...What do you do when lightning strikes

Sandy Goldstein: What do you do when lightning strikes:
Stamford Downtown takes great pride in having put on 17 years of uninterrupted outdoor concerts featuring mega-stars and local talent performing for thousands of wonderful, music-loving patrons. Never, except last Thursday for the notable Cee Lo Green concert, have we ever had to cancel a concert. That includes performances in extreme heat and pounding, pouring rain. Weather is a very fickle friend to a concert promoter: It can be too hot, too cold, too windy or too stormy — but nothing stops our outdoor concerts. That is, nothing except electrical storms. And that is precisely what happened last Thursday.  

Lightning strikes have been very prevalent this summer. According to CBS News there have been 16 deaths from lightning in the United States so far this year: with seven of those fatalities occurring during the month of July — including three in the past week. Last Thursday, our radar and the police command center’s radar showed that we were directly in the path of a major electrical storm. At 7:15 p.m. radar pin-pointed the lightning at five miles away (25 miles away is the safety zone) and we temporarily powered down. We had Cee Lo and his band on standby prepared to take the stage as soon as the director of public safety gave the all clear.
The lightning strikes continued within a five-mile radius for the next two hours, even though, at some point, the rain had somewhat tempered off. The public safety director was still unable to give an all clear, based on the radar, which clearly showed the electrical storm directly over us. When we saw no change in the weather situation we called the show at about 9:30 p.m. 
We made the latter call because doing anything else would have been the height of irresponsibility. There is one thing we as promoters will not compromise about and that is the public’s safety and well-being. And while we knew a cancellation would be terribly disappointing to our loyal patrons, nothing would have been more irresponsible than putting any of them in harm’s way.
So, please look at and remember all of the positive, joyful concerts the DSSD has put on over the course of almost two decades and consider last Thursday night an unfortunate blip — when there was major disappointment but thankfully no tragic incident.

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