5,000 more than expected attend Park concert
The following is a reprint of a Warwick Beacon article from June 24th, 1986.
As many as 5,000 more people than expected showed up at Rocky Point Park last Friday night for the Steppenwolf-Guess Who concert.
But while traffic backed up as far as Apponaug was a headache for motorists and Warwick Neck residents, police and city officials feel confident that Rocky Point did everything it could to keep the crowd under control.
Ward 5 Councilman John C. DelGiudice reports, "Rocky Point attempted to do everything it was asked to do by the city. It made radio announcements that the concert was sold out at 4 that afternoon, and told people not to go to Rocky Point. But people went anyway."
While Police Chief John F. Coutcher defined the crowd as "beer drinking and vociferous," he reported that only two people were arrested for disorderly conduct. "There weren't that many problems other than the traffic, which we expected...we had officers remain on duty until 3 a.m., and Rocky Point picked up the cost of it."
DelGiudice said police patrols were increased from 40 to 50, and a rescue wagon was called to the Park in case of emergencies anywhere in Warwick Neck. The Park paid the expenses of the rescue truck and its personnel, he said.
At least one resident, however, felt the crowds were out of control. Howard Sisson, 45 Nightingale Ave., reported concert-goers urinating on private property, "and people overdosing on alcohol who had to be taken away."
"Of course you're going to get negative reports from people who don't want the concerts there in the first place," said the chief.
DelGiudice said he addressed the traffic problems to Park President David Cascioli, and reported, "No one should have a beef with Rocky Point. They demonstrated a lot of responsibility and took all the precautions they could.
"It just comes down to the simple fact that our roads can't handle that kind of crowd. You can't look at the community and say the concert didn't interfere with it. It didn't interfere," said DelGiudice.
DelGiudice said Cascioli showed him a concert trade magazine referring to a concert Steppenwolf and Guess Who held in Philadelphia on June 6, which reported an attendance of 3,300. "Based on that, they weren't expecting the crowds they got," says DelGuidice.
"Too many people responded to the same place at the same time," said the councilman. "There had to be 8,000 to 10,000 people there."
DelGuidice reported about five minor traffic accidents after the concert. "One driver went around a corner on Tidewater and hit a car parked in a driveway. I think the accidents were because a lot of people just weren't familiar with the area. Of course, you get about 3,000 cars where there are normally 200 driving around, and mathematically the chances of accidents have to go up."
He also reported inspecting the neighborhood the next morning at 5:30 a.m. "There was maybe the equivalent of a case of beer in two or three places, but it wasn't that bad."
Cascioli has promised DelGuidice that he doesn't plan another concert until August, 'and he's told me it won't be a concert of that stature-only 3,000 to 4,000 people.
"I don't think anybody can say that Rocky Point was trying to pull anything over on the city," concluded DelGiudice. "They did everything they could and everything the city asked them to do."