No F&B For Cheap Seats

The cheap seats just across from the newly upgraded Mizner Park Amphitheatre in Boca Raton, Fla., will still be available this spring to frugal concertgoers, but the city has backed off on a plan to sell concessions in the area.

The city-operated Mizner Park has faced issues for some time with a landscaped open median near the venue that’s served as a gathering spot for those looking to listen to concerts for free.

Officials proposed a plan in January to barricade the median during concerts, charging $10 for lawn chair access and opening up the area to food and drink sales that would be split between the city and promoters.

But questions about competition with local restaurants in the area and the enforcement of open-container laws have apparently derailed that concession plan.

“The promoters really weren’t as interested in capturing the revenue as they were in having people come in and enjoy the show,” cultural facilities director Chrissy Biagiotti told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We thought, ‘Let’s not muddy the waters,’ You’re welcome to come in and sit for free, bring your chairs, but don’t bring coolers and drinks.”

The median will be barricaded during two upcoming concerts – Furthur April 6 and Harry Connick Jr. April 9, the paper said. Signs will be posted reminding people of the city’s existing open-container ban and police will maintain a presence to enforce the law during shows.

Following those shows, Boca’s Community Redevelopment Agency is expected to examine whether future shows will require barricading.

“What we’re trying to do is establish a new protocol for coming downtown to these shows,” Biagiotti said. “We’d rather have people in the venue or in the restaurants rather than sitting outside and partying for free.”