Changes to East End Fest, East Ave will stay open |
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The weather could affect tonight's East End Fest right outside our front door. But the organizers are using the chance that they're might be smaller crowds to test run a smaller festival that the city might see going forward.
The biggest change is that East Avenue is going to stay open and so people aren't going to have to pay $5 just to get access to this part of East Ave and some of the restaurants and businesses here.
Instead the festival will be smaller -- squeezed into the parking lot across the street from News10NBC and next to Spot Coffee. There will be a couple of indoor concerts at Bernunzio Uptown Music store and Henry B's restaurant.
There's been criticism of the East End Fest over the past five years, especially from people who live and own businesses here now. So the festival organizers say they're listening to the complaints and they're trying something new tonight.
"We still are committed to continuing the festival as people know it but we agree that maybe some changes could be made and this is a chance to see how they work," John Hutchings, East End Fest organizer, said. "As a business owner in the neighborhood I can see the validity of some of their points, that it does create some obstacles to running their business and as anybody could do, picture yourself in these residents shoes and to have 10,000 people in your front yard three nights a year. It takes a willingness to sit down and understand everyone's view points. So an "ah ha" moment? I don't know if I'd call it that but just being part of the neighborhood for the last eight years as I've been as a business owner I can understand where they're coming from."
"If it brings people down and they're able to enjoy the retail aspect and some of the restaurants and the other things that are down here it'll be a great thing," Julie Bernunzio of Bernunzio Uptown Music said.
"Festivals change neighborhoods and as neighborhoods change festivals need to change," John Bernunzio said.
There's no guarantee that this is the way the festival will look next year. It could go back to the way it was.
Consider tonight a dress rehearsal.