I had a conversation with an acquaintance who was just full of bad news about Street Scene. Basically, he said, chances of Street Scene happening in 2007 are "at best 50/50" and "a lot of chips have to fall into place for it to happen."
I have never hesistated from my criticism toward any event, and I, like most people, have an opinion about everything, including Street Scene. Still, I thought I would take the time to express here on my little blog my opinion about the event and why I do not wish for the cancellation of this San Diego tradition.
First of all, I would like to start with the number one complaint about Street Scene: "It should be downtown." Um, hello stupid. Did you happen to notice that in the last 5 years, all but one open parking lot have been built upon in the original downtown area where Street Scene was held? Don't be pissed that Street Scene isn't downtown; be pissed that the city basically gave millions to the Padres, not only in assistance with the cost of the stadium, but by allowing JMI, John Moores company, to acquire properties through emminent domain, forcefully buying property owners out when their land wasn't worth dick, then reselling after his stadium was guaranteed and making millions on said property. Every block now has a condos or hotel, and if it doesn't, it's only because construction hasn't yet begun. It wasn't that long ago that the only things in the Gaslamp were parking lots, produce distribution centers, thrift stores, and homeless shelters.
So yes, Street Scene changed at the same time it moved. Older people complained that Street Scene moved away from the "World Music" roots and catered too much to the young. The young people complained, well, pretty much about everything. Street Scene moved last year to the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. "Parking Lot Scene" pretty much sucked to everyone except me. Maybe because I bought my tickets in pre-sale, so $70 for 2 days wasn't that bad. Maybe because I liked more of the bands than my friends did. Maybe because I knew better than to have high expectations. I don't know what it was, but I had fun. Of course there were things that suck...the beer garden being so far from the stages, for example, but you get over it. Don't drink if you wanna be up at the stage.
The current proposal is to have Street Scene at the Del Mar Racetrack. While I hate the idea because personally, I don't want to drive there, I prefer the option to no Street Scene at all. The residents of Del Mar are very much against the proposal. Rumor has it that Rob Hagey has a shitload of unpaid debts from last year, and it has widely been reported that LiveNation is sticking it's corporate ClearChannel ass where we wish it wouldn't, but if it means saving Street Scene, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm not saying it will be great. I'm not even saying it will be good. But I'm not ready to suggest that the event will suck because everyone else is saying so.
I don't doubt they could make me look stupid. There are a lot of shitty bands that could "headline" and make me cringe 100 times over (like 3/4 of the X-Fest lineup), but I guess I still hold out with the fantasy that someone will swoop in and remind Rob Hagey and Joe Callahan and LiveNation that some of us still love music. I don't need big headliners, just a lot of good bands that remind me why I've managed my way into Street Scene one way or another every year since I was 17. I'm just not ready to stop going now.