Apparently, an August 27 story in the Palm Beach Post newspaper prompted complaints about potential crowd control and noise issues in the West Palm Beach suburb.

Promoters had expected more than 50 bands – most of them local or regional – to play the park, and promote non-violence and gun safety to young people. The event was expected to draw up to 10,000 concert-goers, but the Post reported that a week out, only 500 tickets had been sold.

The alarming tone of the article, however, also prompted Town Manager Terry Leary to “spend two days becoming a private investigator,” she told the paper.

Within two days of the article’s appearance, Leary said she had gathered complaints from “former associates” of promoter Barry Cunningham of Buena Vista Marketing & Promotions, all claiming he owed them money.

And that was the least of it.

At about the same time, Lake Park police learned of warrants for Cunningham’s arrest on a felony bad-check charge and for being delinquent in paying child support in separate Florida counties.

Cunningham and his associate, Barry Johnson, met with city officials for more than two hours August 29, unsuccessfully trying to resolve the town’s sudden concerns. When the meeting ended, Lake Park police informed him of the warrants and arrested him.

Leary said crowd control was the issue and Cunningham’s arrest was unrelated. “Kelsey Park is simply inadequate for an event of the magnitude which Buena Vista promoted,” she said in a news release.

Vice Mayor Paul Castro was more direct: “The event is too big for this small a community,” and as far as he’s concerned, “It won’t ever happen again.”

Prior to the cancellation, Castro derided the non-violent theme of the concert, pointing out the possibility of mosh pits being part of the scene. “There won’t be any moshing going on. I’m telling you that right up front,” he told the Post in the August 27 article.

In the wake of the 11th-hour cancellation, it was unclear how concert-goers and bands coming from around the region and beyond would be notified. Town officials said other than issuing a news release and hanging a banner at Kelsey Park saying the event is canceled, they were leaving it up to the promoter.

It wasn’t clear how anything would be accomplished with the promoter sitting in the Palm Beach County Jail awaiting transfer to face charges in two other counties.

The concert was the brainchild of Cunningham – who has successfully promoted large concerts in south Florida in the past – and John Karroll, head of Stop the Violence, a national non-profit organization that provides counseling and promotes anti-violence messages.

They reportedly got the idea after the shooting death of Lake Worth, Fla., schoolteacher Barry Grunow. “Our slogan for this show is ‘Let’s make the school year safe and productive,'” Karroll told the paper.

One of the programs to be showcased at the festival was the Get Unloaded campaign, which educates parents on the proper storage of guns, use of trigger locks, ensuring weapons are unloaded, as well as restricting access of guns to minors.