400 Block concert draws smaller crowd than expected - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

400 Block concert draws smaller crowd than expected


American Idol finalist Josh Gracin rocked the 400 Block stage Saturday night, but in front of far fewer people than some city officials anticipated.

Expecting a large crowd, authorities provided additional staff for the "Rock the 400 Block" concert and blocked off streets in downtown Wausau.

Wausau Fire Fighters estimate several thousand people came, but law enforcement officials were prepared to handle a lot more.

"Typically, for an event this size, we would not have extra staff on," Patrol Captain Dwayne Dachel from the Wausau Police Department said after seeing the size of the crowd.

According to city officials, at least six police officers, three Wausau firefighters and dozens of other volunteer and emergency officials were on hand Saturday, and that comes at a price.

"We planned for a big event just in case and it didn't turn out to be that way, but we have the planning down," Dachel said.

Pepsi-Cola Mid-Wisconsin Beverage sponsored the free concert and organizers said they had to be ready for anything.

"We really want to be thankful to the police department and the fire department and the city of Wausau for allowing us to do this," Sales Manager Scott Campbell said.

He said the purpose of the event was to showcase Wausau's 400 Block, but the concert's hype may have scared people away.

"They thought it was going to be way too many people, but it's actually a really nice sized crowd," he said.

There was plenty of room on the grass during Gracin's performance, a contrast to usually packed Wednesday night concerts on the square.

"I expected more people. We've been down here some Wednesday nights and the crowd was probably bigger than this," Todd Schoonover of Kronenwetter said.

But American Idol finalist Josh Gracin said it doesn't matter how many people show up, he'll put on a show.

"It doesn't matter if there's 100 people or 10,000 people. It really doesn't matter. What matters is we go on there and put on the show that we would put on of 10,000 people," Gracin said.

He also told Newsline 9 downtown Wausau is a great venue for performers.

"It's a neat place to come down and walk around and kind of get you out of the norm."

And organizers said the concert was a learning experience.

"We're very happy with it and I think a lot of people came down and had a great time," Campbell said.

Law enforcement officers said costs for additional staff at Saturday's event could range anywhere from hundreds, to thousands of dollars.

City council members requested a detailed financial report at a meeting earlier this month outlining the cost to staff the event.



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