Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Other than the way cool sidewalk drawing at Appy Park I did not partake of a single event at this year's Festivall. I'm not sure why - kids, work, weather all seemed to conspire to keep me distracted and when I did venture downtown at around 6:00 Saturday evening the sidewalks seemed to have already been rolled up.

There are several bloggers who wrote and posted photos of the events, and Oncee has a round up of the posts.

Last year's event was great for the first time and I was hopeful this year would be even better. But I'm wondering how the attendance was this year. A friend told me he went down to Capitol Street Sunday afternoon and the place was deserted. I heard that the Wine and Jazz event was well attended, but I know no one that went to the Blues, Brews and BBQ on Friday (I really wanted to go to see Robert Cray, but alas).

Having events scattered around town might seem like a good idea on the surface, but I think it tends to suppress attendance overall. Many of the venues are too far apart to walk and it's difficult to drive and park to all the different places. The trolleys aren't frequent enough to encourage a steady stream of riders (and I didn't know about the trolley plays until I read about them in the paper!). The "river taxi" to UC is an insufficient solution to the event-to-event commute for many folks since it only ran every 90 minutes.

The Regatta went through this same wierd tranformation in the 80's. A sponsor would step forward and want to hold the event in its neighborhood, and the sponsor hungry festival commission would acquiese. We ended up with events for this "River Festival" scattered all over town and everything just felt watered down after a while. I wonder why we always do this in Charleston? A word of advice to Larry Groce and other Festivall organizers: Pick an area and focus the activities there. The two and three-hundred blocks of Capitol and Summers Streets would be plenty of room for Festivall. Go ahead with the two big pay events at UC, but keep downtown open a little longer into the evening for those of us who can't or don't want to pay.

Just my $.02. Take it or leave it.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the festival is way to spread out to generate much energy. It would be great it there was transportation from one location to another. One price for the entire event would be great too. How about paying 20.00 or 25.00 then having access to all the venues instead of paying 15.00 for one site, 13.00 for another? Or is there just too much greed for that?

oncee said...

I agree that it's too spread out. Unless it was on Capitol Street, I didn't see it.

Thanks for the link.

Rick Lee said...

Saturday afternoon attendance on Capitol St seemed really good to me.