Amazon says it's looking into preserving Detroit bandshell after backlash

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click to enlarge Michigan State Fair bandshell as of Dec. 13. - David Gifford
David Gifford
Michigan State Fair bandshell as of Dec. 13.

Wow, a recent Metro Times piece sure made waves — and it seemed like a long shot.

In an essay published last week, David Gifford, a transit blogger and musician, argued that Amazon should preserve Detroit's decrepit bandshell on the former Michigan State Fairgrounds. The City of Detroit recently sold the land to the retail titan to create a $400 million distribution center expected to bring 1,200 jobs to the city.

But the site's bandshell, which has been in disrepair since 2009, has hosted a slew of musical acts throughout eight decades — ranging from swing bandleader Benny Goodman in the 1930s to Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse in the '90s. Readers got nostalgic, and the piece went viral.

Within days, someone created a petition urging Amazon to save the bandshell. WXYZ-TV's 7 Action News picked up the story, and Amazon even issued a response, saying it's considering preservation.

"Amazon appreciates the sentimental and historic value of the bandshell to the Detroit community," a spokesperson told the station. "We are working closely with the developer to assess every possibility to try to preserve the structure."

Of course, we won't hold our breath. Amazon isn't exactly known for its goodwill. It's more known for ruthless efficiency and cutthroat capitalism, swallowing up its competitors whole and treating its workers like disposable cogs.

It is, however, the world's largest corporation, and owner Jeff Bezos is the world's wealthiest man, worth a staggering $186.7 billion. He can afford to do anything.

Maybe the Ghosts of Concerts Past can convince him to save Detroit's bandshell.

It would be a Christmas miracle.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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