Cooperstown is getting ready for the Dead — sort of.
Further, the Grateful Dead legacy band that features original Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, will perform in concert at Doubleday Field on Sunday.
The concert is expected to bring with it some of the trappings associated with the Dead’s followers, including the unofficial black market known as “Shakedown Street,” where Dead fans peddle bootlegs, shirts, stuffed bears and sometimes drugs.
Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said that he is trying to put the word out to the band’s followers that sales of legal souvenirs will be allowed if contained to the village parking lot on Chestnut Street.
“Usually we require outside vendors to have a permit,” Katz said. “We’re not going to catch those people in this process. What we are trying to do is filter it into the parking lot.”
Despite Katz’ desire to allow the band’s fans to congregate, Cooperstown police chief Mike Covert told the Crier that his officers aren’t going to allow illegal activity.
“We’ve never really cracked down inside the stadium. We will make rounds inside the concert, but that is not our primary concern,” he said. “Of course if someone is stupid enough to (do drugs) in front of us, we are going to detain them, and issue a court summons. What we don’t want is it spilling out into the streets. That’s my major concern. We will have police outside the concert to make sure nothing gets out of control.”
Likewise, although beer will be sold at the concert – a deal breaker in the contract with promoter Magic City Promotions, according to Katz – open containers and public drunkenness will not be tolerated outside the venue.
Despite the concerns about the band’s fans, village officials were clearly aware that the visitors will not be typical young concertgoers. The Grateful Dead’s heyday was the 1970s and the Further fans will skew older. Village trustee Bruce Maxson is a big fan; Covert himself admits to going to Dead and Further concerts, including one recently.