"Band Camp"-style concert at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport closer to a reality

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

JANESVILLE—Plans for an August concert at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport are moving forward.

On Tuesday, Rock County Airport Director Ron Burdick updated members of the Rock County Board Public Works Committee on what could be a Band Camp-type concert at the airport.

“We do not have a contract with them yet,” Burdick said after the meeting. “We hope to have something to bring to our meeting in April.”

The concert would be put on by Madison radio station WJJO. The station previously held the hard rock Band Camp concert at Willow Island, adjacent to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Last year's event Aug. 17 attracted more than 10,000 people. Headlining acts included Sevendust, Jackyl, Pop Evil, Asking Alexandria and Nonpoint.

WJJO had approached the county about having the concert at the airport last year, but public safety officials nixed the idea, saying they didn't have enough to time to gather information and plan for the event.

“We wanted to talk with Dane County authorities,” said Capt. Jude Maurer of the Rock County Sheriff's Office. “We wanted to know what kind of crowd it was, were there a lot of calls for service, were there a lot of heat-related injuries, fights, vandalism complaints, other injuries or people who were too intoxicated to care for themselves.”

This year, concert organizers “reached out to us much earlier,” Maurer said.

Officials from the Janesville Fire Department, the Janesville Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff's Office met with concert organizers recently and had many of their concerns addressed, Maurer said.

The problems “weren't so far out of the ordinary that they would tax public safety system.”

Public works committee member Brent Fox said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the concert could go forward.

“It sounds positive, and it will probably happen,” Fox said. “The county as rented out the airport before.”

Fox hopes it does, saying the “trickle down economic impact” would be significant.

Previously, a WJJO representative said that it would be inaccurate to call the event “Band Camp” and said that at this point the concert had no name.

Maurer said that when public safety officials met with concert organizers, they repeatedly referred to the proposed event at the airport as “Band Camp.”

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