Springettsbury Twp. officials cancel summer concert series

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
The Impact Band performs in the amphitheater as part of the Sounds of Summer Concert Series at Springettsbury Park in Springettsbury Township, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Performances run biweekly on Sundays and Wednesdays thru August 4. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The 2020 Springettsbury Township Sounds of Summer Concert Series has been canceled over concerns about COVID-19, the Board of Supervisors announced Wednesday night.

Citing potential liability issues and the handling of large crowd sizes, the board voted 3-2 to suspend the concert series during its work session strategic planning meeting.

Chairperson Mark Swomley and Supervisor Don Bishop voted against canceling the series.

"The governor's proclomations didn't matter to us when we wanted to get businesses open, but now it matters to us," Bishop said. "I think it's doable ultimately if we wanted to."

The Sounds of Summer Concert Series was planned to take place from Aug. 2 to Sept. 20. 

Event organizers had originally planned to set the maximum capacity of the amphitheater, where the concert series would take place located at Springettsbury Township Park, to only 250 attendees. After cutting it off at 250 inside the amphitheater, however, individuals would be allowed to congregate outside the amphitheater too.

The amphitheater can typically hold between 1,600 and 2,000 people, officials said. 

Colin Lacey, the director of Springettsbury's parks and recreation department, said he's unsure of how officials would manage a crowd that could end up generating anywhere from 750 to 1,000 attendees. 

"Why don't we just call it a protest?" Swomley said in response. 

During the meeting, Bishop said there can be ways to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 if officials "really put our minds to it," and offered ideas including pushing the event to September and hiring more employees to help manage the event.

"I have the same feeling," Swomley said, agreeing with Bishop. "At what point to we decide our society is smart enough to know how to handle themselves without the governor telling them what they can and cannot do."

Though alternative ideas to manage the summer concert series were brought up, several board members agreed there were some negative outcomes for hosting a large event that could result in issues for the township.

"This is a big event that we are sponsoring, and I just see that there are too many challenges here to move forward with this in the current environment," Supervisor Charles Wurster said during the meeting.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.