Friday, May 02, 2008

Pyramid Festival Grounds Anyone?

We've never been able to attract much interest to our suggestion that the parking lots around The Pyramid should be covered with sod and become our downtown festival site. But we'd sure like to take the vote in the midst of another downpour at the opening night of Memphis in May's Beale Street Music Festival.

With The Pyramid as a back-up for 20,000 fans to retreat indoors to hear some of the acts, at least something could be salvaged from this yearly baptism and mudfest. Heck, the blues tent could even be set up in the space formerly used by Wonders, and there are probably some other creative ways to get some acts inside besides the headliners on the big stage.

Of more concern to us each year than the rain-soaked music fans is the fact that our primary downtown park will be chewed up yet again, and it will be months before the grass comes back and it's presentable again.

Somehow, the trade-off of our signature riverfront park being unsightly for months so that we can have three days of a music festival just doesn't compute to us any longer.


TTN media room said...

you're off on this one. The grass being torn up on one park in the city may not be totally worth it for three days of music fest, but a month of BBQ fest, symphony and music fest is absolutely worth tearing up the grass. Memphis in May is one of the few defining things about the city the we as a group almost all enjoy some part of. I might not go to music fest this year, but I will go to BBQ fest and I most likely will go to the sunset symphony. These events featured by the side of the mighty Mississippi is a beautiful and fantastic attraction to the city. MOving into the pyramid, while not a bad idea to preserve some of the larger acts when a tornado comes along, would be a disaster. The pyramid absolutely blows as a music venue. Tom Lee on the other hand is delightful.
So yes I think an annual MONTH LONG showcase of Memphis is worth re-sodding a downtown park that gets little use the rest of the year.

Carol said...

You are right on with this one. And good for you for having the courage to suggest it. Contrary to the earlier comment, Tom Lee Park, in fact, is heavily used throughout the year, and just when the weather turns nice, they fence it off, screen the bluffwalk and tear it up. The damage remains for months, not just for park users for everyone entering our city on Riverside Drive. Memphis in May is a great Memphis tradition. No one should want to kill it. But again, what's the point of festivalgoers being on the river when they can't see the river, thanks to screening. That makes no sense to me.

I would like to see us explore alternatives to Tom Lee Park for Memphis in Memphis, including the Pyramid site -- or for that matter, Riverside Drive from Union or Court north to the TN Welcome Center parking lot on the north. If the festival is staged on hard pavement, the rain is a non-factor once the festival is over.

Smart City Consulting said...

ttn media room:

We're not experts on acoustics, but in a driving thunderstorm, we believe that The Pyramid's sound wins out.

And one month of fun for x number of people does not justify tearing up our signature park on the river or for placing it largely off limits for downtown residents and visitors for a month. The purpose of this park shouldn't be to make money for events by non-public entities, but as a special public green space that is available to all Memphians for the entire year. And we now shouldn't have to wait three months before it's back in shape enough to fully enjoy it.

Our festival is patterned after several that attract more people and have more stellar line-ups and are located in river cities, but aren't located on the river. Somehow, it works fine for them.