Wednesday September 12, 2012

LENOX -- Local public safety officials are voicing concerns about this weekend’s outdoor rock festival at the Eastover Resort following a meeting with co-owner Ying xing Wang. But they are guardedly optimistic that the Berk shireStock event, with more than 30 bands booked, can avoid major problems.

"I’ve heard that we’ve sold a little over 1,000 tickets so far," according to one staffer at Eastover who declined to give her name.

"Everything’s coming together and moving in the right direction," Wang told The Eagle late Tuesday, although she said she had no exact tally available for ticket sales.

Lenox Police Chief Stephen O’Brien said he has "concerns about traffic on East Street, how many people are going to be attending, what the security is going to be like, citizen complaints in the area from noise, what kind of clientele this is going to bring in to the town of Lenox.

"Hopefully, everything will go as smoothly as it can. I’m somewhere between worried and confident," the chief said.

O’Brien said his department plans to have an officer assigned to traffic control from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the 430 East St. entrance of the resort.

Eastover is paying for the police detail, said O’Brien. In addition, Lee Police will be monitoring activity in the Tally-Ho Lounge, where alcohol will be sold and bands will be playing at the same time other groups perform on the outdoor stage. As a matter of town policy, the Lenox Police Depart ment does not assign details for events where alcohol is involved.

In outdoor areas, the resort has permits only for beer, according to Wang. Support from the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office has been arranged, she added.

A Lenox firefighter-EMT will be stationed at Eastover, said Fire Chief Daniel Clifford.

Emergency medical services personnel from Action Ambu lance in Pittsfield also will be at the festival, O’Brien said.

Hired by the resort, a 24-man private security force from National Security Service, a firm with 437 coast-to-coast field offices, will be on duty, 12 at a time. The company lists Texas Instruments, CBS News, Sprint, Verizon, Sun Microsystems and the American Cancer Society among its clients.

O’Brien pointed out that Saturday will be especially busy in town, with registration for the Josh Billings RunAground triathlon and the annual Lenox Tub Parade.

"We have our hands full, and we’re a small police department," said O’Brien.

The chief said two officers will be on duty for each of the three Saturday and Sunday shifts, as usual, and he will be on hand on Saturday for the Tub Parade and for the Eastover event.

"I’m hoping things go well and run very smoothly for everyone involved," he added. "But I don’t like the uncertainty of what could possibly happen."

According to Fire Chief Clifford, issues that he first expressed to the resort management last Friday were addressed over the weekend, "so I’m at a better comfort level." He was concerned about the number of people attending and the amount of resort staff available.

"I’m hoping for the best, and trying to plan for the worst," Clifford added, describing his feelings as "cautiously optimistic."

Tri-Town Health Department Di rector James Wilusz said he has visited the resort "to make sure there are no public health and sanitation issues involved."

His goal was to ensure that enough sanitary facilities would be available, including portable toilets and handwash units, and that overnight campers are properly located.

"My role is to make sure it goes off without a hitch," said Wilusz. "We have to ensure compliance with local and state laws." His primary concern is with the size of the crowd attending the festival.

"From what I was told, I feel pretty comfortable from a public health perspective that they’re going to be where they need to be," he said.

More information about Berkshire Stock is available at the resort’s website, www.eastover.com.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6247.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto