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Friday, March 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

GCEDC board scheduled to vote on Darien Lake proposal

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake, GCEDC

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at its March 30, 2015 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add several new attractions, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual water slide complex speed ride for the 2015 operating season. The projected capital investment is approximately $2.5 million. The company is seeking final approval of a sales tax exemption of $180,000.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.  Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre- 99 MedTech Dr. Batavia, NY on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

Van Halen plans tour stop at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, entertainment, music

With David Lee Roth back in the fold, a new live album, and an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Van Halen is about to hit the road for a tour that will include a stop in Genesee County.

The legendary rockers will play Darien Lake on Aug. 25.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd will open the show, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., April 4.

For more information, visit LiveNation.com.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Darien Lake ready to hire 2K seasonal workers

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake, darien lake theme park

Press release:

The region’s largest seasonal employer is looking to fill 2,000 open positions across its operations, including amusement park, water park, lodging, entertainment, food, and retail departments.

Darien Lake has already begun accepting applications for the upcoming season with some positions starting as early as April. The park will open for the 2015 season on May 9 with full, daily operations beginning June 15.

“With two thrilling new rides being added to the park this season, we’re in need of more energetic, and fun-loving employees than ever before,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “Darien Lake is a great career-starting opportunity for all Western New Yorkers as our team members routinely develop experience in guest service, operational processes and small business entrepreneurship."

Immediate opportunities are available in food service, park services, ride operations, retail, accommodations and campground housekeeping. Other opportunities are available in games, gift shop sales, aquatic operations, skilled trades and park maintenance, entertainment, guest services, security, and safety. Darien Lake is seeking energetic, friendly applicants of all backgrounds who are interested in helping us create memorable experiences for our guests.

Interested applicants can apply online at www.DarienLake.com/jobs or call the Darien Lake Job Line at 585-599-5108.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Darien Lake once again planning full concert season

The summer line-up for the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center is starting to take shape, with Kelly Clarkson the latest star announced by Live Nation for a show at the amphitheater next to Darien Lake Theme Park.

The Clarkson show is at 7:30 p.m., July 21. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., March 14. Also on the bill, Pentatonix and Eric Hutchinson.

Also on the schedule so far are some Darien Lake regulars, such as Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Zac Brown and Nickelback.

The Van's Warp tour is also returning.

Those shows are listed on the Live Nation Web site.

Darien Lake's site also lists Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts.

The first upcoming show is Debby Ryan and the Neverending at 6 p.m., May 23.

Other acts scheduled are Shawn Mendes, Fallout Boy, Train, Slipknot, Florida Georgia Line, and Darius Rucker.

For dates and times, check the links above.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Do you plan to attend any concerts this season at Darien Lake? To download the app, click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 8:33 pm

GCEDC to consider Darien Lake Theme Park request for $180,000 tax exemption for new attractions

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake, GCEDC

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at its Thursday, March 5, board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add several new attractions, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride for this operating season. The projected capital investment is approximately $2.5 million.

The company is seeking a sales-tax exemption of $180,000, which would require a public hearing should the board approve the application.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park - 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor across from Genesee Community College.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:48 am

Darien Lake announces in-park concert series

post by Howard B. Owens in arts, Darien, darien lake, entertainment, music

Press release:

This summer Darien Lake will host three special in-park concerts presented by TOPS Markets that are free with a Season Pass, a hotel or camping package or daily admission. The free concerts will take place in the Ride of Steel Plaza and include performances by –  Disney Channel’s Debby Ryan & The Never Ending; the social media hip-hop star Jake Miller; and Canadian singer-songwriter, Shawn Mendes.

“With roots in the Disney Channel, Kissmass Bash and beyond, these stars resonate with many families across Western New York,” said Chris Thorpe, Darien Lake General Manager. “Along with two new rides, these concerts are part of our plan to provide extraordinary value to our season pass holders and accommodations guests while enriching the entire Darien Lake experience.”

With park admission or a season pass, guests receive access to all in-park entertainment/concerts, Dive-In Movies, special events, shows, and now more than 50 rides. A 2015 season pass has even greater value than ever before, paying for itself in less than two visits. Season Pass holders will have the opportunity to be first to ride the all-new Rolling Thunder thrill ride, and will receive free parking, three free tickets for friends on select days and a free 32-oz. souvenir mug good for $.99 soda refills all season long when purchasing and visiting prior to Memorial Day.

In-Park Concert Dates and Times:

Debby Ryan & The Never Ending: May 23, 6 p.m.
As one of the most watched young stars in the business today, Debby Ryan is known for her unmatched comedic timing, flexibility to give powerful dramatic performances, and the ability to illuminate television and film screens. She starred on the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life on Deck,” as Bailey Pickett from 2008-2011 as well as the smash hit Disney Channel Original Series “Jessie” since 2011.

In addition to incredible acting chops, Debby broke onto the music scene in 2013 with her band, The Never Ending. The band consists of singer and songwriter Debby Ryan, drummer Johnny Franco and guitarist Kyle Moore. They released their 5-track EP “One” on June 24, 2014.

Jake Miller: June 13, 6 p.m.
Ever since Jake Miller began posting his original songs on YouTube a few years ago, the 21-year-old Miami-born pop artist has been building a virtual army of fans. His 1.3 million social media community followers call themselves "The Millertary" and come to his concerts wearing camouflage and greasepaint under their eyes. They are devoted to Miller’s irresistible musical blend of pop and hip-hop, combined with the positive messages in his songs.

Miller has independently released three EP’s: 2012’s "Spotlight" and 2013’s "The Road Less Traveled," which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart and 2014’s "Lion Heart," which sold 8,000 in the first week and 14,000 to date. His full-length album, 2013’s "Us Against Them," sold over 33,000 copies and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Rap chart.

Shawn Mendes: June 27, 6 p.m.
Hailed by Billboard as “Music’s First Vine Star” and TIME Magazine as one of the "Most Influential Teens of 2014," singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes has emerged from teen viral sensation to major best-selling status almost overnight. Soon after artist manager Andrew Gertler discovered and introduced Mendes to now-label Island Records in early 2014, Shawn’s debut single "Life of the Party" broke records, topping the iTunes Charts and selling over 150,000 copies in its first week due to his legions of fans.

The success of the song made Shawn the youngest ever artist to break into the Billboard Hot 100's Top 25 with a debut single. Then, just a month later, Mendes released his self-titled debut EP, which also hit the No. 1 spot on iTunes once again, and entered at No. 5 on the Billboard album charts, showing the staying power of the young artist. Now fresh off of his sold out first headline tour dates, and soon to be embarking on Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour as well as releasing his debut album in 2015, Shawn has quickly become one of music's most promising young stars.

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Lawsuit blames security miscue at Kid Rock concert for Jason McNeil's catastrophic injuries

If Craig Lawson had been properly escorted from the concert venue the night Kid Rock played Darien Lake a year ago July, alleges a Buffalo attorney, he never would have been able to deliver a devastating, life-altering sucker punch to Jason McNeil.

The punch took away the life Jason and his wife Pamela and their two children once knew in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

McNeil, 44, needs constant care after suffering serious head trauma as a result of the punch.

And he wasn't even Lawson's intended victim.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the McNeils will attempt to determine to what degree concert promoter Live Nation and concert host Darien Lake Theme Park is responsible for that punch.

The McNeils are seeking $150 million in damages.

The suit alleges other factors that contributed to McNeil's injuries, said attorney Donald Chiari, but at the heart of it is how Live Nation security handled Lawson after the decision had been made to eject him from the venue for being drunk and disorderly.

Lawson was taken to the concert venue gate (possibly the one known as South PAC), but the guard never completed the task of actually getting Lawson out the gate, Chiari said. If he had, there were security guards in place to keep him out of the venue.

There also would have been a fence between Lawson and the VIP gate, where McNeil was exiting the concert with Pamela.

While a Live Nation guard was taking Lawson to the gate, a person he had been in a confrontation with Lawson inside the venue was supposed to be leaving through the VIP gate.

That person wasn't McNeil.

With Lawson allegedly left unattended for a couple of minutes inside the concert venue, the 34-year-old Canadian ran over to the VIP gate, and in a case of mistaken identity, cold-cocked McNeil.

The punch delivered to a person he had no prior contact with is a fact Lawson admitted during his sentencing Aug. 18. He's currently serving a year in the Genesee County Jail on the assault charge.

McNeil was knocked out before his head hit the ground. He was in a coma by the time he arrived via Mercy Flight to ECMC and has required several surgeries and extended hospitalization since. He has suffered loss of speech; ability to read and write; and comprehend what people are saying; and the ability to walk.

The same security guard who allegedly failed to get Lawson out of the gate was one of the first on scene after the punch was thrown, Chiari said.

"The guard got there and said, 'Oh, my God, I was just throwing you out two-and-half minutes ago,' Chiari said, "that's literally in his statement."

It's not unusual -- as anybody knows who regularly reads arrest reports from concerts at Darien Lake -- for patrons to be ejected from the venue and then later try to return. There are frequent trespassing arrests at Darien Lake concerts. 

Chiari said the unique issue in this case is the alleged failure to follow through on getting a disorderly patron out of the concert venue so other patrons are properly protected.

"No premise's owner or any security is an absolute insurer of safety of third parties, but they still have to do what is reasonable," Chiari said.

The suit names as defendants Live Nation in its at least 10 various incorporations, Darien Lake (by three different corporate names), Craig Lawson, and the company, Contemporary Services Corporation, Live Nation contracts with for security personnel and training.

Not named in the suit is Kid Rock or the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Chiari said there is no plan to include the county in the suit.  

Live Nation pays for Sheriff's deputies to provide law enforcement on concert nights, but deputies do not enter the concert venue and from Chiari's description of events, it appears everything leading up to the punch happened within the venue.

The Washington Post recently published a story about the growing rowdiness and disorderly behavior at country music concerts nationally. It's not just a Darien Lake thing. Many contemporary music acts seem to encourage excessive drinking and concerts are often preceded by tailgate parties were copious amounts of booze are consumed.

The suit also names as co-defendants SMG Food and Beverage, and Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, stating those companies were the vendors of alcoholic beverages the night of the concert. The suit alleges the vendors unlawfully sold alcohol to an already intoxicated Craig Lawson.

This afternoon, The Batavian requested comment from both Live Nation and Darien Lake and have not as of yet received a response.

UPDATE: This from a spokesperson with Live Nation: "We cannot comment on pending litigation."

UPDATE: We received this from Darien Lake: "Darien Lake confirms that on August 29, a civil lawsuit was filed by the family of Jason McNeil. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on pending litigation." - Rod Rankin, General Manager, Darien Lake

Monday, September 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

Six arrests at Tom Petty concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Department during the Tom Petty Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

Jennifer L. Bishop, 26, of Harmony Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue and advised not to return, then reentering the concert venue. Bishop jailed on $100 bail.

Julie A. Biamonte, 37, of Harmony Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue and advised not to return, then reentering the concert venue. Biamonte was jailed on $100 bail.

Charles T. Diorio, 30, of Brookwood Drive, Derby, is charged with trespass after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue, advised not to return, then was said to be climbing the fence to get back into the venue. Diorio was jailed on $500 bail.

A 16-year-old, of Country Road 12, Andover, is charged with possession of a loaded rifle in a vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing a loaded .22 rifle in his vehicle and possessing a quantity of marijuana.

Louis E. Sorendo, 57, of East Albany Street, Oswego, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected from the concert and advised not to return.

Daniel A. Howe, 50, of Astor Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, after allegedly possessing a quantity of cocaine.

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 8:20 am

Photos: Rascal Flatts at Darien Lake

Photographer Amanda Earl attended the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.  She said the band played great and the fans really enjoyed the show.

Alexis Theriault, age 2, enjoyed the show as well.

Hanna Wells, center, with her aunt, Mary Beth Uetz, and grandmother, Carol Sawyer. They drove from Oswego to see the show in the VIP section. Amanda said, "Hanna sang and danced along to every single song with true enthusiasm this evening. She even caught a guitar pick tossed out into the crowd by Joe Don Rooney." Hanna became a fan of the band when she first heard the number-one hit song, "Bless The Broken Road."

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 8:02 am

Four arrests reported at Rascal Flatts concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Rascal Flatts Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sept. 4:

Ashley R. Peak, 21, of Livermore Road, Dryden, is charged with for resisting arrest, harassment, 2nd (two counts), and disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance while being ejected from the concert venue. Peak allegedly then kicked and spit on a deputy and resisted arrest.  Ashley was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 17-yearo-old of Iroquoius Avenue, Lancaster, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Jon R. Perry, 31 of Fletcher Street, Tonawanda, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly grabbing another patron by the shirt and not letting go. 

Ashley N. Hayden, 22 of Upper Clark Avenue, Van Etten, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching and kicking a CSC security guard in the groin.

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