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Fredericksburg clears way for Alan Jackson concert

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Hold off on those “Summertime Blues,” Alan Jackson is coming to Fredericksburg much sooner than “Someday.”

In the first meeting of Fredericksburg’s new City Council, members unanimously approved a permit under the city’s musical and entertainment festival ordinance for Sevens Hills Presents LLC to present the Aug. 23 outdoor concert at Celebrate Virginia Live.

“As you know, the city has a special-events process that is normally handled internally,” said Karen Hedelt, director of economic development and tourism, “but in this case it falls under the musical festivals ordinance—what we call the Molly Hatchet ordinance.”

The ordinance’s nickname is reference to a May 1983 concert that featured Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and Outlaw and drew 27,000 spectators.

Council input is necessary from the coordinators of “music or entertainment events where the audience is expected to surpass 5,000 attendees.”

At-large council member Kerry Devine raised concerns about the permit’s specificity and asked for details regarding projected attendance and a rain date.

David Peterson, president of Sevens Hills Presents, said that they anticipated approximately 8,000 people between concert goers and support staff, but that they had no inclement-weather plans at this time.

“We don’t particularly have a rain date or location in place,” Peterson said, “and, frankly, it’s impractical—if not impossible—to move an event of that size and nature and accommodate the people who have expressed an interest in being there.”

Devine clarified her statements by saying additional details or wording would allow the permit to function in the event of cancelation or postponement of the concert due to weather, rather than forcing Sevens Hills to request another permit.

City attorney Kathleen Dooley said that it would be possible for the council to approve a permit with flexible dates for the support and safety plans, which would allow Sevens Hills to adjust for inclement weather should it arise.

The council also authorized City Manager Beverly Cameron to execute a contract for asphalt rehabilitation to Fredericksburg Asphalt and Paving Inc. of Ruther Glen. The company, one of four that bid on the project, had the lowest price at $2,047,000.

Vice Mayor Bradford Ellis questioned Doug Fawcett, director of public works, on selecting the lowest bid, saying that it didn’t mean they were the most-qualified contractors for the extensive rehabilitation needed in downtown Fredericksburg and Central Park.

Though price was the primary factor in selecting Fredericksburg Asphalt, Fawcett said the city had contracted with them in the past with positive results.

“To my knowledge, work that has come into question is not from Fredericksburg Asphalt and Paving,” he said. “We’ve been basically quite pleased with their work.”

Dawnthea Price: 540/374-5403;