Saturday, March 24, 2007

VIDEO/SLIDESHOW | Fireworks, Little Big Town draw people to downtown

There were SO many people downtown tonight. I don't know when the last time was that I saw that many people in downtown Macon at one time. If people weren't over on Cherry Street for the 2007 Cherry Blossom Festival Street Party, they were over on Coleman Hill for Fireworks Over Macon.

The street party started out slow this evening, with the bigger crowds mostly congregating on the lawn of the Georgia Sports Museum in front of the WDEN stage where Little Big Town would play later in the evening. Though the crowd was smaller at the B95.1 stage down at Third and Cherry streets, it was a little more active with a few people actually dancing to the music. By the end of the evening, crowds at both stages had grown rather large and were huddled close to the bands. There seemed to be steady business at the clubs and restaurants along Cherry Street in between the stages, though the foot traffic never got as congested there as it did at either end.

I was really surprised to see such a large variety of ages among the crowd, but as happy as that made me, I was even more dismayed by the complete racial divide along the street. It is Macon, so what did I expect? Down at the WDEN stage, the crowd was mostly white. And down at the B95.1 stage, the crowd was mostly black. I just wonder if anyone in the two separate crowds knew that the music was just as good at either end.

I also wonder if anyone on Cherry Street was able to see the fireworks when they went off. (Were you on Cherry Street? Did you see the fireworks? Please comment.) I have to say that even for Macon, the fireworks display was pretty pitiful. First off, most of the crowd had gathered in the middle of Coleman Hill to listen to the Middle Georgia Concert Band play before and along with the fireworks. The only problem with this was that when the fireworks started it turned out there was this giant tree blocking a large portion of the view. Who wants to have to get up from their picnic on the lawn to move to a better spot in the middle of the fireworks display? No one. Had the fireworks not been quite so low, that might not have been a problem.

But that didn't matter anyway because they didn't last very long at all. The whole thing would have been at least a little more exciting had the fireworks been timed a little better. They were set off too far apart time-wise in my opinion so that they never really seemed to blend in with each other the way great fireworks displays do. And then after the whole show was done and people started to get up and walk off, there were a couple of random sparks intermittently fired into the air. What gives fireworks people? Were you trying to taunt us? "Hey, no, don't get back on your big bus yet, we're not done. Oh wait, yes we are." I hope Sunday night's display is much better.





Anonymous said...

Cherry Blossom Festival's live music selection for Saturday street parties in Macon, regarding booking of major acts, has gradually become watered down. There has been a noteable decline in musical groups with ties to Macon, and this year proves likewise. The reason is that for the past ten or so years, headliner bands scheduled have mostly been country, hip hop,or retro fiftes & sixties. As an event consultant with strong connections & networking skills, I can tell you the street party is now attended for the most part by curiosity seekers from out of town and few who don't even know or care about the lineup. When Macon Heritage Foundation can book THE B-52's for a fund raiser event, Music Hall of Fame can schedule Bo Diddley with Chuck Leavell, and a local charitable foundation can hire Capricorn Rhythm Section for a private benefit dinner, it would seem possible to do a better job attracting audiences in the know to downtown with really special guest performers coming to Macon, perhaps interacting more with GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME. From the current trend, it probably ain't gonna happen. The CBF committee works hard, and are to be commended for their efforts, yet the street party could do better with help from vast resources of people residing in Macon who have significant understanding of Macon's music history and culture.

John Charles Griffin
Flat Broke Productions, LLC
Macon, Georgia

Stephanie said...

That was very nicely said and enlightening. Thanks for the comment! Are there any specific acts besides those you mentioned at recent events that you think might draw better attention to the street party? And what about if the street party were to use more local talent that's not as well-known?