By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Aldermen on Tuesday voted to allow buses and trucks to park near the Lyric Theater next Wednesday for a concert that promises to bring the city international publicity.
The Oklahoma psychedelic alternative rock band Flaming Lips will appear in Oxford as part of a music TV awards show and a series of concerts the band will broadcast to set a new world for most live performances in 24 hours.
The Lyric abuts narrow streets in downtown Oxford, and buses left for hours in loading zones have created traffic problems at prior concerts.
“A few weeks ago we got this opportunity to do this show to be filmed by VH1 and MTV,” said Lyric owner Bradley Bishop. Some buses would be parked on the Square for photos, he added.
“We’re really asking for a special-event exemption … to be able to get these trucks and buses loaded and unloaded, something longer than the 30 minutes currently allowed,” Bishop said.
Typically, band buses are allowed to unload at the theatre doors but then park at the Oxford Park Commission parking lot, but the Tuesday vote will allow buses and TV trucks to park in loading zones from around noon until after midnight.
“If it was this one time, I’d smile and say have at it, but dadgum it, it’s always something,” Patterson said.
Ward 3 Alderman Janice Antonow’s focus on the publicity may have been shared by other board members.
“We do need to find a permanent solution, but one of the reasons they want to park where they do is to highlight Oxford for a national broadcast,” she said.
Board members voted unanimously to approve the exception.