Outdoor concerts canceled by state rule change

  • The sun sets as vehicles are parked July 24 at the Roll On In drive-in concert series at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. The series has been canceled due to a change in state regulations governing the size of crowds at outdoor venues. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Uncle Bob was the first act at the first Roll On In drive-in concert series July 24 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds. The series has been canceled due to a change in state regulations governing the size of crowds at outdoor venues. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/12/2020 3:52:07 PM

GREENFIELD — Roll On In, an outdoor weekend concert series, has been canceled after just two weeks, due to revisions in the state government’s policies on outdoor events.

Roll On In, run by event producers Spencer Lavoie and Joel MacKenzie, had been using the Franklin County Fairgrounds for a drive-in concert venue designed for social distancing. The field was divided into about 200 parking spaces, each with room for patrons to sit outside their vehicles.

The venue also required that patrons wear masks if leaving their own space, and mandated that parties arriving separately not mingle.

The venue and its policies had been designed to follow the state’s rules on outdoor events, which at the time allowed for large gatherings with no maximum capacity if the space were unenclosed.

However, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a change in the rules Friday, including one that outdoor gatherings must have no more than 50 people, regardless of whether the space is enclosed. Baker said the rule change was made in response to a recent increase in rates of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

The cancellation of Roll On In was announced on the venue’s Facebook page Friday, after Baker’s announcement, with organizers thanking the musicians, staff and patrons who made the concerts possible.

Lavoie and MacKenzie said that the governor’s rule change was the only reason for the cancellation. They declined to discuss the cancellation further, apart from noting that the city of Greenfield had been supportive.

After Roll On In’s opening on July 24, concerns over health code compliance prompted the Greenfield Board of Health to meet with Lavoie and MacKenzie later that week. The two noted there had been isolated instances of patrons not following rules, but also emphasized their efforts to enforce their rules, such as hiring a security company and purchasing disposable masks.

The Board of Health also raised concerns over the venue’s capacity, noting that the state’s rules at the time required a limit of 100 people if the space were enclosed. However, the board ultimately determined that Roll On In was not an enclosed space, even though the fairgrounds is surrounded by a fence.

Roll On In operated for only one more weekend after that before the change of rules was announced the following Friday.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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