City Council President Tom McCarthy came to the defense of council members in how OIB has portrayed acceptance of free VIP passes to the Gathering of the Vibes, the annual hippie fest on the shores of Seaside Park.
Big Mac on Sunday told OIB that Vibes promoter Ken Hays has a contractual obligation to allow council members access to assess festival activities. He says council access was characterized incorrectly, in an email he sent to the legislative body, as “VIP ticket.” Instead, he says, council members are issued “official badges” for event access for the four days. McCarthy says he uses the official badge for its intended purpose, to check out the scope of the Vibes events, what it means for the city and determine its future viability.
The council president wrote this to his peers in an email:
As you are aware, the Vibes concert is happening this weekend. The contract with the vendor calls for the City Council Members to have access to the concert all weekend. Each Council Member will get one VIP ticket for the weekend, plus one for a companion. I will let you all know the details of parking and how to get the tickets when I get those details. Most likely it will work like last year. Our names were on a list last year and you needed to bring ID’s. When you showed your ID you got your ticket. When I get info, I will share it.
Remember the purpose of this access is for Council Members to assess and see first-hand the Vibes to determine whether this is something we want to do on a going forward basis. Thanks. Tom Mc.
McCarthy stopped into the Vibes for 15 minutes on Friday after attending funerals of two city firefighters who died in the cause of duty.
“The Vibes is good for the city but it’s become a major operation,” says McCarthy. “It’s not my cup of tea. But I feel an obligation to check it out. After my 15 minutes I leave.”
Council members, and a companion, are offered entry to the Vibes that would cost hundreds of dollars to attend. If the intended purpose is for city business, how about council members (they don’t receive a city salary) paying for entry from their respective $9,000 expense stipend? McCarthy says it doesn’t make sense for council members to give public money back to Vibes promoter Ken Hays.
Why allow council members companion access? The Vibes music, enthusiastic hippies (that’s some good shit!) and activities aren’t for everyone, says McCarthy, so companion access would make things more comfortable for a visiting council member.
The Bridgeport Republican Party has protested the council freebies and is threatening to file a complaint with the city’s Ethics Commission.
The Vibes has become a monster event, drawing weekend campers from throughout the northeast and more than 20,000 ticket buyers. Access to the city’s largest park is limited in the days leading up to the Vibes and for the four event days. Most city officials say it’s good for the city, but wonder if the city’s getting short-changed economically for turning over the park to Vibes promoters. Hays has donated tens of thousands back to the city for neighborhood upgrades. But just what the full economic impact is to the city is unclear beyond the approximate $50,000 fee.
“When the contract comes up we’ll insist on more money for the city and more participation from local vendors,” says McCarthy.
Well, Tsunami Tuesday is almost here. Are you yawning? Engaged? Excited? Who’s your horse? If you wanna talk about it with three political junkies stop by the Black Rock Library this Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Former Post scribes John Gilmore, Jim Callahan and I will blow some hot air about elections past and share our take on the Aug. 10 primaries. The Connecticut Post has endorsed Dan Malloy for governor on the Democratic side and Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele on the GOP side. Do newspaper endorsements matter? Not generally, but in tight races they can. The credibility of endorsements comes in the form of advertising the editorial backslaps. “That’s why (so and so) has been endorsed by the Connecticut Post, Hartford Courant,” yadda, yadda.
Bridgeport Theatre Company!
We had a sweet time Saturday night at the Playhouse On The Green for the inaugural show of the newly formed Bridgeport Theatre Company led by downtown residents, artistic director Eli Newsom and wife Christy McIntosh, who rallied regional theater friends to produce Out Tonight, a jammin’ night of musical numbers from a variety of shows including Rent, Tommy, The Wedding Singer, Mamma Mia and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Dozens of amazing thespians, including Broadway pros such as Ryan Duncan (Shrek) entertained a packed Playhouse Saturday night. Bridgeport Theatre Company (BTC) is a non-for-profit with a world of local talent. Want to get involved? Check out the audition workshop this Saturday Aug 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open call for auditions for Rent is Aug. 10 and 11.
The first full production from the Bridgeport Theatre Company launches with Rent, October 15 to Nov. 7.
For more info and how to get involved go to www.bridgeporttheatercompany.org. These actors definitely come with a twisted sense of humor like …