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June 6, 2013

Shakedown Street is coming to village

Officials look to find right balance for concert

For one weekend only, the Chestnut Street parking lot will be known as Shakedown Street.

The open-air market famous at Grateful Dead shows is expected to come to Cooperstown on July 13 and 14 for the Furthur concert at Doubleday Field on Sunday, July 14. Furthur is the Grateful Dead legacy band that features original Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

Village officials have conceded that they don’t want to, and probably can’t, stop unpermitted sales of shirts and other Grateful Dead and Furthur souvenirs. Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said that he is trying to put the word out to the band’s followers that their sales will be allowed if contained to the parking lot.

“Usually we require outside vendors to have a permit,” Katz said. “We’re not going to catch those people in this process. What we are trying to do is filter it into the parking lot.”

Shakedown Street is the name of a song and album released in 1978 by the Dead. It has also become the unofficial name of the band’s black market community where music bootlegs, shirts, stuffed bears and sometimes drugs are sold at concerts.

Despite Katz desire to allow the band’s fans to congregate, Cooperstown police chief Mike Covert said that his officers aren’t going to allow illegal activity.

“We’ve never really cracked down inside the stadium. We will make rounds inside the concert, but that is not our primary concern,” he said. “Of course if someone is stupid enough to (do drugs) in front of us, we are going to detain them, and issue a court summons. What we don’t want is it spilling out into the streets. That’s my major concern. We will have police outside the concert to make sure nothing gets out of control.”

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