‘Outside the Box’ Organizers Seek to Mitigate Impact

“Outside the Box” organizers are working with the community to help mitigate the impacts on the Boston Common of the free performing arts festival, which returns to the park from July 14 to 19.

“We take our responsibility as respectful stewards of the Common quite seriously,” said Susan Darian, the festival’s managing director. “Our vision remains to provide a quality, family-friendly event that showcases all of the performing arts – theatre, music and dance, as well as international performers and a really vibrant children’s area with programming and educational workshops.”

The six-day festival, again sponsored by Boston philanthropist Ted Cutler, is scaled back from the inaugural event, which came to the Common and Government Center Plaza for 10 days in the summer of 2013. A full schedule for this year’s festival is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 2.

“We wanted to hear and have responded to concerns of neighbors on Beacon Hill,” Darian said after meeting with representatives of the Beacon Hill Civic Association Parks and Public Spaces Committee last week. “We have shortened the length of event, and are taking additional operational measures to ensure that it runs smoothly this time around.”

Darian said the festival organizer has contracted Michael P. Wasserman, Inc., a Boston special event, meeting planning and destination management firm, to oversee operations. Its workers are expected to provide ground protection beneath heavy equipment, coordinate with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to water the grounds between daily events and offer a trash and recycling program, among other tasks.

“The things that worked last time around, we’re employing again and amplifying,” Darian said.

Colin Zick, chair of the Association Parks and Public Spaces Committee, acknowledged his gratitude to the festival organizer for meeting with neighbors to address their concerns.

“We hope that there will be minimal damage, both in the long- and short-term, from event,” Zick said. “Overall concern doesn’t relate so much to this particular event, but increasingly longer and more elaborate [programming] on the Common, which is in contradiction to the standards set out in the Boston Common Management Plan.”

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