Maybe a Little Less Blues and a Bit More Rhythm?

Now that Bob Duffy is fully ensconced in his role as mayor, there is a profound and noticeable uptick in the number of things going on in downtown Rochester for which he is to be commended.  I’d really like to extend my appreciation for a man trying very hard to bring more people into the city and make it a destination rather than a dare for people in the suburbs.

But the only downside to the current selection is – and I don’t want to appear ungrateful – the fact that almost everything seems to revolve around ribs, bar-b-que and blues music.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all those things, but there needs to be just a bit more diversity in the selection.

Last year, they had the Big City Summerfest.  This year, they appear to have opted to split that one big festival into a bunch of smaller festivals.  The trouble with this is that they all seem disjointed, it’s difficult to stay up to date on what’s going on, and when they mostly seem to involve the aforementioned elements, it just seems like a pile on of one thing.

So, I’d recommend (though I’m sure they’re not listening to me) that a “Big City Summer Festival Series” be formed around the idea of all these individual festivals, even some of those festivals that were not previously associated with it, maybe.  That way, you’ve got one “brand” on a large number of downtown city festivals, giving them some synchronicity, and you can share one website (with however many ancillary sites you’d like) to find out what’s going on all summer long.  Obviously, Park Ave Fest, Corn Hill and all those others would remain their own entities.

Mayor Duffy?  What say you?

Park Avenue Festival 2007

Yes, children! More pictures! (Narnia ref for us geeks)

I never miss the Park Avenue Festival, ever. Well, I did once, but I had pneumonia. Any ailment that fails to rise to the level of danger represented by pneumonia fails to prevent my appearance at the Fest of Fests.

And of course, my primary motivation for attending is to go jam to The Buddhahood and drink good beer at Hogan’s Hideaway. This year was no exception, and this year was so much better than previous years in terms of weather, so it was an exceptional day. Plus my friends from NYC and from Florida happened to decide to make appearances in town on the same weekend, so it was very busy.

Park_Ave_Fest-043Hogan’s had a new beer this year called “Double Bag,” reportedly double the alcohol content of other beers. I don’t know about all that, since I only had two, and even then they were spaced out about an hour in between. But it was damned-fine stuff, if you ask me. Sweet and flavourful. The only complaint I have about the Hogan’s stage is that they have a sore need of some cover for the crowd. There are no trees and there is nowhere to get any shade whilst you’re watching the band. That might be fine for some, but I got pretty burned up and my fair-skinned mama wilted rather quickly.

Park_Ave_Fest-003Right off the bat, we found a vendor at the Festival that was, well, very sympathetic to this website’s theme. I commented in my Boulder Festival article that most of the vendors tend to repeat from festival to festival around Rochester, but I don’t beleive I saw this particular vendor at others like the Corn Hill Fest. We also got some way-cool hats from a vendor out of Texas.

Park_Ave_Fest-049We got to the Buddhahood’s show in time to watch the opening march into the stage area. Now, in years previous, the Buddhahood had a coterie of several belly dancers that surround them on their way into the stage area. This year, they had but one dancer, pictured here on the left. As you can see, they did not suffer. If you need any more proof that quality trumps quantity than this picture provides, I cannot help you.

Park_Ave_Fest-005 We both really love the bronze woman who comes each year. I can’t imagine bringing enough cash to the festival to be able to afford her work, but it’s absolutely stunning stuff. If I could afford the artwork to the right of this paragraph, I would buy it in a minute. I’m sure she ends up giving away more cards than she sells of her stuff during the Fest, but that probably comes back later when people are looking for great artwork for their homes.

After a few hours at the Festival, we went home to relax for a few hours before going out to all the parties happening around town. We visited with all my friends and had a great time. Can’t wait for next year!