Thursday, August 13, 2009

No Pop Tarts: Summer in the City? Not this Year

I'm disappointed about Summer in the City this year. Why, with the economy having tanked, they are charging non-trivial admission I just don't get. From a letter organizers sent out to merchants:
This year for several reasons we will be having paid admission to get into the three entertainment areas. On Saturday the fee is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for 16 years and older with student ID. Sunday is $7.50 for adults or $15.00 for a two day pass. The one fee allows entrance to all three entertainment areas.
And it's tacky:
For the more adventuresome visit Hornitos Garden of Agave for tequila-tasting, coconut-bowling, a little bit of reggae by Rhythm Culture and find your place in the sun. American Idol's "Bikini Girl" Katrina Darrell will be on site for autographs and will be singing in her first performance since American Idol.
Plus Texas Hold'em, Beer Pong (sans Beer), a legs competition...

Neither the Art Fair nor the World Beat Festival offers bikini girls nor requires a $10+ admission. They ask for donations, but do not require paid admission. And they don't sex it up with American Idol Pop Tarts. (If they wanted something sexy, why not local burlesque performers?)

Since Summer in the City is one of the very few times when Salem residents can enjoy the full use of the downtown streets, it's sad to make the event a semi-private party contingent on an admission fee. All Salem residents should be able to enjoy the streets. It's fair to charge for beer, wine, food, and other goods and services. But to charge for the commons is cheap, shabby, and gouging.

Return Summer in the City to a Free Festival in the Street! Last year was glorious.

If you have to go, Venti's has a sweet beer offering. Jared's got the list and details.


  1. I must say I was disappointed as well and you make the points I was thinking about very well. Thanks for this post!

  2. I just read the Statesman piece from yesterday. Two quotes:

    "There are more bands, there are more wineries, there are more activities aimed at what I would call young adults."

    "It's a much more diverse entertainment center...people can listen to music, there's a children's area activity that has all sorts of games. And the coconut bowling - I'm not too familiar with what that is, but it sounds like you take a coconut and try to knock something down with it."

    It's hard not to think that the event's been constructed and packaged with some disengaged cynicism.

    It'll be interesting to see the numbers.

  3. Sad, very sad, indeed! We went down yesterday and all I could see were the chain link kennels. Seemed like more people were looking in than were inside. We walked on down to Saturday Market and enjoyed the food and music and people watching.
    Open streets--isn't that what it should be about? I hope they head back to the drawing board. I can't believe anyone made the fence suggestion, let alone had anyone agree with them. {sigh}

  4. Yowza! Kennels sounds awful! And then I saw the pix at The Other Realm. You all aren't kidding. It wasn't just exclusive, but it was also more than a little alienating and dehumanizing. Just bad juju for something billed as a festival. Thanks for the reports. I hope they turn it around for next year.

  5. The hits keep coming...Jared calls it "Lamer than Lame."

    Over at Hinessight it was "almost depressing."