A promoter of live music is pulling the plug on its plan to move a summer concert series from a Henrico office park to Goochland.
During a Goochland County Board of Supervisors meeting that went until 2 a.m. Wednesday, EventMakers-USA Inc., which puts on the Innsbrook After Hours concert series in Henrico, withdrew its application for a conditional-use permit (CUP) to move the series – minus the Innsbrook name – to Goochland’s West Creek Business Park.
The board, which began a public hearing on the item around midnight, heard from 15 to 20 people in opposition to the potential concert venue, including Henrico County Supervisor Patricia O’Bannon of that county’s nearby Tuckahoe District.
Goochland supervisors took no action since the request was withdrawn.
EventMakers earlier this year began the process of potentially moving the series to West Creek after three decades in its namesake office park at 4901 Lake Brook Drive. The group zeroed in on a 5-acre site at 12575 W. Creek Parkway near the Richmond Strikers field complex.
The group in July filed an initial pre-application, which required it to conduct several reviews and studies, including a sound test that month at the proposed site.
Results of the sound test were mixed, with some volunteers reporting the music in their area as being “loud and annoying” or “barely audible”. According to a staff report, Goochland officials also were concerned about traffic, parking and safety, specifically the Goochland Sheriff’s Office’s concerns that a concert could stretch the county’s ability to properly respond to 911 calls and other emergencies.
The Goochland County Planning Commission eventually recommended the Board of Supervisors deny EventMakers’ CUP request during its meeting last month.
Larry Creeger, EventMakers’ executive producer, said keeping a positive rapport between Henrico and Goochland was far more important than moving forward with the group’s CUP request.
“That’s a relationship that we don’t want to damage,” Creeger said. “I think a majority of residents in Goochland could benefit from a series like this, but I think for us, it’s finding a balance that works for everyone.”
Considering next steps
The move to terminate the application also gives EventMakers time to re-evaluate its initial request, if it decides to seek a CUP for an event space in Goochland in the future. Had it moved forward with the application and supervisors denied it, the group would have had to wait a year to re-apply.
“It gives us some time,” Creeger said. “We want to be respectful of the process and to our neighbors.”
In the meantime, EventMakers and the Innsbrook Foundation last week announced their intention to produce the 2020 Innsbrook After Hours Summer Concert Series in the Henrico office park.
The foundation, which sponsors the Innsbrook series, and Highwoods Properties, which owns the land on which the concerts currently take place, also are looking to produce a more scaled-down concert series at a new location in Innsbrook in the future.
Creeger said owning the “After Hours” brand gives EventMakers the freedom to re-establish the concert series – minus the Innsbrook tag – in other parts of the region and state. He said his company will continue to work with the Innsbrook Foundation as it retools its concert series.
“It really is an opportunity for us,” Creeger said. “I think the writing is on the wall when it comes to what Innsbrook wants to do with the series on their property. For us there’s an opportunity to remain in Innsbrook and then do something else, possibly on a larger scale, in another part of the city or region.”
That possibly could mean bringing a concert series to Goochland, albeit in a format that works for all parties involved and doesn’t interfere with operations in Innsbrook, Creeger said.
“We’re going to keep our options open at this point,” he said. “Right now, our focus is on the upcoming 2020 series in Innsbrook, and looking for other areas to grow After Hours.”