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Readers: Change of Summer Festivals in Downtown St. Louis a Bad Move

June 11, 2014 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Featured, Politics/Policy 5 Comments

Over 63% of readers that voted in the non-scientific poll last week said the move to push out the locally-produced  Taste of St. Louis & Bluesweek festivals in favor of concerts from ICM/Summer Rocks is a bad move, 16% thought it was a wash, and just over 20% think it is a good move. Here’s the breakdown:

Q: ICM/Summer Rocks pushed Bluesweek & Taste of St. Louis out of downtown on two holiday weekends. Good move for downtown & city?

  1. Very bad move! 30 [40.54%]
  2. Sorta bad 17 [22.97%]
  3. Meh, no big deal 12 [16.22%]
  4. Slightly good 9 [12.16%]
  5. Excellent! 6 [8.11%]

I tend to agree, I think next year we’ll see just how inexperienced ICM is at producing a festival, especially in a complicated setting like the area around Soldiers Memorial.

Recycling center at the 2010 Taste of St. Louis
Recycling center at the 2010 Taste of St. Louis

I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Taste of St. Louis grown over the years, starting out where Citygarden is now, later at Soldiers Memorial. Each year they learned from past mistakes.  We’ll see how this goes, hopefully it’ll be a positive overall.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    I would not define ICM as “inexperienced”, nor would I classify the setting around the Soldiers’ Memorial as particularly “complicated”. Are there challenges, as with any temporary, urban location? Certainly. But it’s no different than the other urban venues ICM uses around the country. That said, I am disappointed that existing, home-grown events were “pushed out” to give an out-of-town promoter exclusive rights to the public realm. Combine that with the potential negative impact on another local venue, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, and I see just another example of our government leaders intruding into an area where the private sector seemed to be doing just fine . . . .

  • Mayor Sleigh

    It’s a false dichotomy. Blues Week and Taste could have stayed downtown, just not on Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend. Taste was in October, so there was no reason to move it.

  • tpekren

    Lets not forget, from what I understand, is that Blues Week was losing money and the organizers were finding a way to charge tickets. So I don’t say this was all about the city pushing them out. Instead, I think its just as much as the developers wanting to keep two prime weekends and didn’t necessarily give a city a path forward that worked for both. As JZ noted, ICM is not a newbie just because they were not local and a very simplistic way to make the argument. My two cents worth, The Blues Week and Taste of St. Louis folks should have been combined and find a way to do tickets on the premium blues bookings.

    • JZ71

      There’s also the basic issue of changing tastes in music. Blues may have a history, here, but how many people are willing to spend money to hear it, these days, compared to rock, rap or country? When your audience is dwindling / dying off, it’s hard to sustain any event.

  • MidwestGuy

    Having returned to my beloved home city and looking forward to the Blues Festival in Septmeber hearing that you must now pay to get near the main stage I’m on of the willing who would do so since I lived in Washington DC for the past 3 years that is the normal thing to attend those events. The biggest thing is that everyone pays to attend and no one complains about it. They even have a Food Truck event with the major resturants and cake stores to host an event..Let’s face it the time to charge for something that has been free for so long is coming and we should just start to open the wallet to enjoy good food and music.

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