Friday, May 20, 2016

Can festivals help Wards 7 and 8 thrive?

I am significantly more interested in the yes to festivals argument in Why cities should stop building museums and focus on festivals.

Why: Author Jonathan Wynn describes festivals as "equitable."   He also writes,

Festivals, both big and small, are becoming a more prominent feature of our cultural landscape. These events range from small street fairs to extravagant events that inhabit a city’s downtown area for a long weekend. They include Austin's massive South by Southwest (SXSW), Boston's smaller Jamaica Plain Music Festival, Manhattan's mainstream Governor's Ball and Brooklyn's two-day AfroPunk Fest.


Unlike permanent stadiums and museums, festivals are nimble; they’re able to switch venues and change up programming if necessary. They're also much more inclusive. Many are free to the public, utilize existing public spaces and cultural assets, spark interactions among community members and nurture positive images of urban areas, especially neighborhoods that might need a boost. (Emphasis added)

There are festivals east of the river.   Think Art All Night in Congress Heights, East River JAZZFest, the DC Environmental Film Festival, Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival, and the Anacostia River Festival.   What if there were more?   What if there were more Art All Night events in parts of Wards 7 and 8 that are not the usual home for such festivities?   Could festivals bring attention to more neighborhoods and serve as a booster for small businesses in particular?

I don't have any of the answers but I (obviously) have numerous questions.   Feel free to share your ideas and reactions by leaving a comment.

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