Most of the time when I think of “the music scene” the default mindset through my rose-colored glasses paints a picture of music freaks happily enjoying their life’s blood and everyone around them being wholeheartedly on-board.
I wish it were true more often, but the fact of the matter is that there are a ton of people who would do their own little dance if they never heard another note ring through their town or neighborhood.
That fact was brought home clearly on Record Store Day in Boulder last month, when a very intimate and pretty damn quiet outdoor barbecue and live show at Bart’s Music Shack was shut down due to neighborhood complaints. It hadn’t been very loud, there weren’t tons of people, those who were there were very well behaved, and the party was supporting a local independent business. But, right or wrong, the neighboring property owner and whiner won the battle.
Now a local municipality that is known for it’s forward thinking and hippie ideals is going through a small battle within its town board that could shut down music festivals and many other gatherings for good in that burg.
From an economic perspective alone, it’s not a very bright idea. Music events, be they small gatherings like the one at Bart’s or big festivals that consume a town, are shots directly into the vein of local economies. Fees are paid to the town to make the extra strain on their resources profitable, and many local businesses flourish, from the convenience store to the restaurants, liquor stores and gift shops.
But again, it ain’t all rosey. That wasted dude, who pissed in a resident’s garden? He’ll be under that guy’s skin until the festival goes away. The town conservatives who whiffed a bit of pot in the air? They won’t be happy until they “Save the Children” by shutting it down.
What I’m getting at here is that in many cases economics will prevail and festivals will continue to happen. Big corporate festivals can dump massive amounts of money into towns (it was recently reported that Coachella, for example, puts $90 million into its host city of Indio, Calif.).
While little festivals don’t have those funds, their economic impact shouldn’t be understated. Businesses in small towns like Lyons and Nederland do wonders on festival weekends. Despite that, though, there are still those who would love to find a reason to kick these events to the curb.
So if we, the music freaks who thrive on these events, truly support local business and we want our festivals to continue to happen, it’s up to us, the festival goers, to make sure we treat these towns and parks as hosts. We should be polite and giving while we’re guests there and we should all “make our beds” when we leave.
See you at the shows.