As the investigation into the Astroworld Festival tragedy that occurred at NRG Park in Houston on November 5 continues, the death toll remains at 10. Officials said the outdoor venue could have held more than 200,000 people, but the Participation in Travis. was limited to 50,000 Scott’s achievement.
So what went wrong? How did the deadly mass rush come about? Could it have been prevented?
I do not know. Maybe smaller concert halls are the answer?
This brings me back to Nashua’s Holman Stadium on a late August evening in 1976. I saw my first rock concert there and it opened my eyes. I was a naive teenager standing in the hilarious crowd with my friends when we saw the J. Geils Band on what was then the high school football field, to the delight of perhaps a thousand or more teenagers and young adults.
The musky scent of marijuana filled the summer night air, and I remember being shocked when the son of a well-known NH judge, an A-student, got high and drank beer a few rows in front of me. I had never seen a scene like this before. Where the hell had I been all my young years?
Seating capacity at the historic Holman Stadium, with its beautiful brick and cement hardscape, is currently around 2,800, but it was actually larger years ago before a host of improvements and sleek redesigns were made over the decades.
The municipal multi-purpose stadium made its debut in 1937 and was at the iconic Holman Stadium, where the city hosted the first integrated US baseball team in 1946 when Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe played for the Nashua Dodgers.
Nowadays, 67 Amherst St. is the welcome home of the Nashua Silver Knights college summer baseball team. It remains a gem for the city, and so many fascinating steps have entered the stadium through those familiar brick arches.
In the early 1990s, Holman Stadium was home to major musical performers and once again brought the excitement of open air concerts to Gate City. I happened to be working at WHOB-FM in Nashua as the news director and was fortunate enough to be able to attend some of these events.
I can’t remember any arrests, accidents or chaos in the Holman Stadium during one of the concerts. Maybe because it was a small venue it was easier to curb crowd management. Holman provided an enchanting, natural setting for a concert. It is a special place, embedded in a forest backdrop in the northern part of the city. It was exceptional to enjoy live music outdoors and I miss that experience.
Cast members included The Doobie Brothers, Joe Walsh, Stevie Nicks, The Beach Boys, Whitney Houston, the Allman Brothers Band, Santana, James Taylor, Tina Turner, Extreme, and Jon Bon Jovi.
All is not lost. Gate City closes the circle with the construction of a beautiful downtown performing arts center known as the PAC. It will have a small indoor venue that will host “theater around the corner, intimate, unamplified performances, cabaret-style performances, open-floor concerts with up to 1,000 and event banquets with up to 200 seats,” said Peter Lally of Spectacle Management, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, whose event company will operate Nashua PAC.
The modern $ 25 million facility at 201 Main Street is hoping to debut in a “post-pandemic 2022” event. Construction is on schedule and on budget, and more people are getting on.
Last September, the Nashua Performing Arts Center received a $ 1 million donation from an anonymous donor.
The generous individual and family are considered local middle-class people and performing arts aficionados who are thrilled that Gate City will have its very own state-of-the-art facility in the downtown area.
And that is, as many would say, “music to my ears”.