Monday, May 4, 2009

LOCAL FESTS: ADAPT OR DIE

Posted on Mon, May 4, 2009 at 12:12 PM

What brings people to Pontiac? Well, there’s the Crofoot, Clutch Cargo’s, Erebus — which is Halloween-dependent — and the annual summer festival of food and folly known as Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats. With the automaker announcing bankruptcy last week, it’s no big surprise the namesake festival would take a hit. The annual budget of about $1.25 million will see a 20 percent across-the-board slash. Trying to find a silver lining? The Festival has been plagued in the past with ill-placed Chrysler cars and trucks at and around intersections, so maybe we’ll see a little less of that.

On the topic of Pontiac, and Arts, Beats & Eats for that matter, we heard that the city’s downtown development director, Sandy-Michael McDonald, is trying to do something with the Phoenix Plaza Amiptheatre. We caught an article in the Oakland Press last Wednesday reporting on the subject and, evidently, McDonald thinks Kid Rock would be interested in purchasing and running the venue. Sure, he might be interested in investing, but taking it outright? He might be a bit busy for that. Nonetheless, kudos to McDonald for thinking outside the box and for seeming genuinely interested in putting butts in those seats. I saw Ziggy Marley there a couple years back. I vaguely remember thinking the stage seemed too high and far away from where we were sitting, which was within the first five rows. But then again, my depth perception might not have been particularly sharp at the time. So, McDonald’s looking for promoters

One has to wonder whether they’ve contacted Greg Baise yet?

Back to festival woes

If you’ve yet to hear (and I hate to be the bearer of such bad news), the Detroit Festival of the Arts has been canceled this year. Feel free to take a moment of silence and reflect on years past. Better? OK. There has been a reincarnation of sorts. The University Cultural Center Association and Wayne State University will team up to produce a free summer event series they’re calling Midsummer Nights in Midtown. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, you can check out art, rock, jazz, poetry, theater, symphony and more. Get to detroitfestival.com for further info.

While the Grand Prix is no more, and local fests in the burbs, from Sterling Heights to Taylor, have been scaled back or canceled outright, festivals like CityFest and River Days, which lost all of its backing from GM, its flagship sponsor, adapt and live on.

Now get out to ’em and spend a few bucks!

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