We’ve been here before.
If you’ve read my previous post about the lackluster display of talent at any of Harrisburg’s Arts/Kipona/Music Fests, I apologize for being redundant.
But in the spirit of speaking my mind about the things that are happening in Harrisburg today, I feel overwhelmingly compelled to write this post.
Here, in some sort of order, are five reasons why Harrisburg’s American Music Fest is personification of the mismanagement and fucked up priorities of The City of Harrisburg in it’s current incarnation.
1. Too much corporate presence.
What stuck out in my mind the most about Muisc Fest this year? All of the damn corporate sponsor presence. Sure, it’s something of a necessary evil when producing a financially burdensome event like Music Fest, but one would think that with all of that Comcast/Belco/Coca-Cola/Patriot-News/Capital Blue Cross/Kibble Select/Hilton/Crowne Plaza/Citadel Broadcasting/BathFitters money involved that we would have been able to book a more interesting and enticing schedule.
I mean, really…is it just me (and everyone I’ve talked to) or did the schedule at this years Music Fest especially suck? Which brings me to number two.
2. The lineup really, really, really, really, REALLY, really sucked.
No wait…did I make that clear? The lineup REALLY sucked. I’m not going to go name-by-name here because, obviously, there were a couple of good acts.
Out of nearly a hundred acts over three days, was a single one ever featured in Rolling Stone? Was a single one ever a hot blog-band? Was a single one ever on Letterman or Leno or even Conan?
Look. The city spends a lot of money buying the talent for this event- and in my opinion (as a seasoned talent buyer) the city got hosed with the amount of money spent compared to the level of talent at the Music Fest.
Have you ever been to the MusikFest in Bethlehem? Here are just a few of the headliners playing this years’ MusikFest in Bethlehem: Jethro Tull, John Fogerty, Roseanne Cash and Phil Vassar.
That’s in O Little Town of Bethlehem. Just about ninety miles from here.
Oh, who else is playing? Avril Lavigne, Live and Collective Soul, John Gorka, Kool and The Gang, Citizen Cope, Stone Temple Pilots, Jeffery Gaines, Roseanne Cash…and then there are the support bands.
3. Harrisburg’s Music Fest is personification of what’s wrong with the big-picture in this town.
You see, it’s not that Harrisburg sucks.
It’s just that the people who are running Harrisburg suck.
I’m a big proponent of “Do the best with what you’ve got.”
I live a self-appointedly minimalist existence. But I do the best with what I’ve got. A LOT of people are working and living paycheck-to-paycheck, week-to-week. But they do the best with what they’ve got.
The City of Harrisburg, however, seems to do the bare minimum..the absolute least…with what they’ve got.
What are we so afraid of as a community?
What, do you people think that things can get any WORSE?
4. Too much carnie food.
I love funnel cake. And I love sausage and peppers.
I really, really do.
But I can do without miles and miles of seven dollar lemonade, eight dollar Gyro’s, hot dogs that cost too much that aren’t even Sabrett’s and “smoothies” for eight bucks that are no more than Crystal Light mixed with crushed ice.
We had a slammin Gyro Salad and a Banana/Strawberry smoothie. It was quite a good salad and a thirst-quenching smoothie. But it cost seventeen dollars.
For some lettuce, peppers, sliced lamb meat and ice and Crystal Light mix.
But do you know why it cost seventeen dollars for a meal that should cost maybe nine? Ten with tip?
5. The City charges an arm and a leg for food vendor spots at MusicFest.
Oh, you didn’t see any local pizza shops with a vendor spot, right? But Pizza Hut was there.
No local hot dog vendors, right? (There are about a half dozen in the city that I can think of off the top of my head)
Nonna’s wasn’t even slinging Italian Ices.
Because ultimately, folks, The City of Harrisburg’s Music Fest isn’t about a festival of Music. It’s about selling vendor locations and securing corporate sponsorships of the stages to cast the illusion that the current administration is doing something good for the people.
Look, I know I may come across as a “blowhard” or “rabble rouser” or “some dude with too much time on his hands who likes to knock what other people are doing” but really, I’m none of that.
I’m just a guy from Jersey who’s seen a lot of great things and who’s lived in some fantastic communities who, incidentally, sees the potential for Harrisburg to be a truly great city.
But our potential is being circumvented by greedy, self-serving, opportunistic, monomaniacal “leaders” who only care about profiteering off of shady land and development deals while pissing away the hard-earned dollars of the taxpayers of this potentially-wonderful city.
Wake up and smell the shit that’s being fed to you, Harrisburg.
It’s time for a change.
And MusicFest is only one example of the gross mismanagement of city funds.