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December 18, 2013

Council: Rapper deserves benefit of the doubt

A Common Council member and the mayor urged a positive approach Tuesday to plans in the works to have a controversial rapper appear at OH-Fest in the spring.

Chip Holmes, Eighth Ward council member who has worked with college students and officials planning OH-Fest events, said Sammy Adams is a professional entertainer and that organizers have given assurances that additional, private security will be present during the concert.

Holmes, in an effort to alleviate concerns about the annual free, open concert in Neahwa Park, spoke in the open forum of the council meeting at City Hall on Tuesday night. No motions about the concert were before the council, but the selection of Adams had been recently announced.

During the business portion of the meeting, the council approved motions for a contract with the Oneonta Family YMCA, appointing a fire captain and hiring a law firm for labor relations, among other actions.

Adams, a Boston-based artist, was chosen by students at Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta to be the main performer at the colleges’ joint spring festival.

Adams was arrested in Manhattan, Kan., in 2010, on charges of disorderly conduct and incitement to riot at a concert, but his publicist said the charges were dropped.

Holmes told the Common Council though he can’t guarantee a “perfect show,” Adams no longer has to conduct himself as a punk to gain attention. Adams has performed in commercials for a national company, he said, and has played at five colleges in the last year without any problems.

Holmes said, based on conversations with two concert promoters, Adams might draw a crowd of 8,000 people. Content appropriateness and other factors will be part of the performer’s contract, he said.

In 2011, the rapper Pitbull performed in Neahwa Park for OH-Fest 6, drawing a crowd of about 10,000 people, which sparked concerns about public safety and the ability of law enforcement to keep the peace.

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