To Beer Or Not To Beer, That is The Question

Passions and convictions heated up at Monday's Loudon City Council meeting when the topic of beer sales at the Loudon Tate & Lyle Performing Arts Center came up on the agenda for discussion. The amphitheater which was constructed by the city with a large donation from Tate Lyle, owner of Staleys, was opened in 2005 and has been a bit of an albatross around the city's neck from the beginning.

In it's second year of operation, management of the site was contracted to the Adams Group, an events promotion company. However results were still disappointing. The new contract for the 2008 season presented by Bruce Adams, owner of the Adams Group, requested that beer sales be permitted at amphitheater events. This is where the controversy begins.

The notice of the beer issue was published in the Monday issue of the News Herald giving few people the opportunity to be aware of the meeting. However, some citizens both for and against the sale of beer at the amphitheater were on hand to express their views. Some councilmen were also not shy to give their opinions. Based on comments by the four councilmen, it seems that they may be evenly split on the beer issue which would leave the deciding vote with Mayor Inky Sweeny.

After a long discussion on the matter, it was sent to a workshop for more discussion not only on the beer issue but also other points of the contract including permitting "rough camping" on the site. Council stated that adequate notice of the next meeting would be made and encouraged all citizens to attend.


Bruce Adams       Mike Cartwright       Charlie Garner

My Take

It is unfortunate that the amphitheater at the park has turned out to be such a liability for the city and it's tax payers. What should have been a wonderful addition and asset to the Loudon Parks program now risks being degraded to no more than just another one of those places we tell our children not to go. If the cost to operate the amphitheater as a force fed high end concert destination is not working and is an endless drain on the city finances, then leave it be. Let it's use be natural and for the locals. It's there, it's not going anywhere. Beer sales at the park will not help anything other than to give the theater nasty reputation. In time as Loudon changes and the demographics change the amphitheater may become one of Loudon's main attractions as it was meant to be.