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Organizers for Buffalo's annual 'Music is Art' festival expect its thirteenth installation to have the largest crowd yet. That's because for the first time in more than a decade, its founder Robbie Takac's band is playing a free show in Western New York. Maybe you've heard of them, they're called the Goo Goo Dolls. Time Warner Cable News reporter Ryan Whalen has more.

BUFFALO N.Y. — It's hard to say how many people packed into Niagara Square on July 4, 2004 as the Goo Goo Dolls played a free concert in front of City Hall. The band estimates it was somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000.

"It was pretty crazy and it was maybe the worst rain I've ever scene so I'm sure that cut down on the numbers quite honestly," said Goo Goo Dolls Bassist Robby Takac.

Memorable in its own right was an impromptu acoustic show bassist Robby Takac and lead singer Johnny Rzeznik played in Allentown a few weeks earlier.

"Prior to doing that show we thought it would be a great way to kind of get the word out to just come and play a few songs," said Takac. "Music is Art was in its infancy then, it was only in its third year."

Fast forward more than a decade, the whole band is coming back to Buffalo on September 12, ready to take the stage at the Music is Art festival again.

"I was out in Los Angeles working with John, doing some demos and we got to talking and he said, 'Man, we haven't done that in a long, long time,' and he thought it would be amazing," said Takac.

When the Goo Goo Dolls play, you can expect this entire street to be filled up with people. Their stage will be set up between the back steps of the Albright-Knox and the fountain, facing out toward Hoyt Lake and Delaware Park.

"This year we decided to announce a little bit earlier and kind of prepare for it and try to make it just a big event that everyone can enjoy," said Takac.

He expects this festival to be the biggest in the history of Music is Art, although with other events like Edgefest happening at the same time, its hard to say just how big.

"Everybody's got their own theory," said Takac. "We've been having to talk to a lot of people because obviously a lot of preparation goes into this kind of thing."

The city is planning for at least 10,000 people but Common Council President Darius Pridgen said there will be extra police and a crowd control plan in place. The Elmwood ramps to and from the Scajaquada Expressway will be closed.

"When you're talking about the new Buffalo you can't think small anymore and you can't be afraid when there's more than 2,000 people together, we're staffed for it," said Pridgen.

"We've got tons and tons of parking over at Buff State so that people can go park at Buff State and we'll have shuttles that are going to drive people to the grounds," said Takac. "We're also going to have miles of bike rack."

Takac wants people to show up early and the band's not advertising when it will start.

"When it's time man, at the perfect time, that's when we're going to play," said Takac.

In the meantime, he says, enjoy the event.
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