With all the recent controversy surrounding the 9th St. Summerfest concert series I thought I’d better see for myself what all the fuss was about. Having been gone from Columbia for two years I found myself wanting to see what I’d missed out on and I was finally able to catch my first Summerfest show when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy came to play last Friday night.
I was pleasantly surprised at how great the show was. All three bands were high energy and great fun. For an outside show in the middle of the District, the rest of the downtown area seemed mostly unaffected except for the block of 9th Street between Broadway and Walnut where the show took place. We walked around before the show started and found it to be a very normal Friday evening in the District – the restaurants all seemed fairly busy, and most of the stores were closed.
After doing a very unscientific poll of my Facebook friends, I decided the event was family friendly enough to bring my two kids age 7 and 9. There were three great rockabilly/swing bands with the Rocket Jets, Wild Cat Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a great bang for my buck since the music was free (the $5 beers, well, that’s a different story). The show was great! All three acts were really good and very talented.
Friday night or Wednesday night, it seems like a big to-do about not much. Since I brought my kids, I probably wouldn’t have come if the show was on a Wednesday night. The whole argument that Summerfest is taking business away from downtown establishments seems like it doesn’t make sense, at least for my particular situation.
I know there’s more to the fuss than that, but I for one thought it was a great event and I’m glad that I was able to bring my family downtown to experience it. There were lots of other people there with their kids and families. If it wasn’t for the free concert, I wouldn’t have been downtown at all that night. I also work downtown, and take a walk around the area at least once a day. Summerfest setup has never interrupted my walk. I actually like
going up there to see what’s up. So for me, it hasn’t upset my downtown experience at all.
This isn’t a review of the particular concert I saw Friday, or of the bands, but of the event. I give it a thumbs up and I hope its around for a long time.