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GRDadof3

GR Festival Funding in Jeopardy

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The future of many of Grand Rapids' best festivals is not looking good:

Fests, parades lose partner with elimination of city's Special Events Division

Thursday, July 21, 2005

By Troy Reimink

The Grand Rapids Press

Downtown Grand Rapids might be quieter next year.

Budget cuts forced the city to shut down its Special Events Division at the end of the year, which means no more cosponsorship of festivals and other events.

That could doom some of the city's already cash-strapped festivals, especially the smaller ethnic ones.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss...0260.xml&coll=6

Just so people don't think I am all blind optimism ;)

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That is exactly what they need, but have fought against for a long time. I personally think Festival is showing its age. It is really boring. I think they should model it after Muskegon's Summer Fest (or Milwaukee's). Still have the local talent, but bring in some big names to pay the bills, get a corporate sponsor and have a big beer garden. I think this would solve a lot of their economic woes. And make it interesting... :) There are only so many years you can go downtown to get an Elephant Ear, watch a mediocre band and people watch before it gets really boring...

Joe

Not good. How about more commerical sponsorship?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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That is exactly what they need, but have fought against for a long time. I personally think Festival is showing its age. It is really boring. I think they should model it after Muskegon's Summer Fest (or Milwaukee's). Still have the local talent, but bring in some big names to pay the bills, get a corporate sponsor and have a big beer garden. I think this would solve a lot of their economic woes. And make it interesting... :) There are only so many years you can go downtown to get an Elephant Ear, watch a mediocre band and people watch before it gets really boring...

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree. The Festival is getting quite boring. We went the first two years after moving to GR. Now I avoid it like the plaque. I would much rather go to Billy's, or One Trick, or some other bar or club to catch some decent live music.

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I always thought that Festival should have taken advantage of the arena when it was built. They could have used it as an anchor of one end of the Festival by getting decent acts for the evenings. It would bring a lot more to festival and it would expand it to all of downtown.

But, that has never been the intention of the Festival, and I doubt they will ever change. It could be one hell of an event.

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That is exactly what they need, but have fought against for a long time. I personally think Festival is showing its age. It is really boring. I think they should model it after Muskegon's Summer Fest (or Milwaukee's). Still have the local talent, but bring in some big names to pay the bills, get a corporate sponsor and have a big beer garden. I think this would solve a lot of their economic woes. And make it interesting... :) There are only so many years you can go downtown to get an Elephant Ear, watch a mediocre band and people watch before it gets really boring...

Joe

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think the Festival is still trying too hard to hang onto it's quasi-hippy roots. The organizers should give it a rest for a few years and rebuild it from the ground up. You're right about getting some big name acts. They should also consider moving it, not from downtown, but to another part of it (N. Monroe? Heartside?). Or at the very least, they should keep it only on or close to Monroe Center.

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I think the Festival is still trying too hard to hang onto it's quasi-hippy roots. The organizers should give it a rest for a few years and rebuild it from the ground up. You're right about getting some big name acts. They should also consider moving it, not from downtown, but to another part of it (N. Monroe? Heartside?). Or at the very least,  they should keep it only on or close to Monroe Center.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree. Come on, it's the "largest all volunteer festival in the country" LOL. I'm not even sure what that means and its significance. It sounds like there are a lot of nice people who put it together, but what is the DRAW? Why should I go?

Milwaukee's Festival is quite a big event (we made a road trip in college), and draws people from all over the Midwest, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. (from what I remember by license plates).

Maybe when Calder Plaza is redeveloped, that would be a great time to re-assess what it should be. I am worried about the small ethnic festivals though, like German Fest this weekend, Polish Fest, African American Fest, etc. that make for a great downtown experience.

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I agree.  Come on, it's the "largest all volunteer festival in the country" LOL.  I'm not even sure what that means and its significance.  It sounds like there are a lot of nice people who put it together, but what is the DRAW?  Why should I go?

Milwaukee's Festival is quite a big event (we made a road trip in college), and draws people from all over the Midwest, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. (from what I remember by license plates).

Maybe when Calder Plaza is redeveloped, that would be a great time to re-assess what it should be.  I am worried about the small ethnic festivals though, like German Fest this weekend, Polish Fest, African American Fest, etc. that make for a great downtown experience.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think it tries to be everything at once: a food festival, a music festival, an art festival, etc. I like the fact that it still brings a good amount of people downtown, but it did get boring this year. Corporate sponsorship is a good idea to get big names in there, but at the same time, I like the fact that there aren't budweiser' logos and bunches of sterile corporate crap every two feet. I'm torn...

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^Same here, but i guess that would have to be the way if we still want a crappy festival. What they should do is focus on one thing and capatilze on it. Such as not being an "all purpose festival," but one like maybe just a music or arts festival...

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Yah, is it a "Festival of the Arts"? I didn't see a lot of art last year except a couple of tents with "crafts". I guess you could call the dancing and singing art, maybe? With all of the local artists here and in Saugutuck/Douglas, why don't we have a real "Art Festival"?

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maybe if we concentrated on one "area" (food, music, art, etc) we could get more than one strong festival out of it without too much additional cost. Of course, it doesn't help that GR is pretty much flat broke at the moment...

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Thats where Meijer, D&W, GFS, or Spartan come in...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The more I think about it, the West Michigan Grand Prix (when it was downtown) had a lot of local corporate sponsors, and I don't remember it feeling overcommercialized (maybe I am romanticizing the past :) ). I don't think having commercial sponsors is all that bad of an idea, but they (sponsors) would want to know they are getting bang for their buck, and would probably want the festival re-vamped (which Festival organizers probably don't want).

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I agree grdad. Big sponsors make me nervous because sometimes they are a real asset and sometimes they make the event look like one big advertisement. I like rizzos idea of getting big companies that are local. They might be a big asset since they are probably less likely to do that in their own town.

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