Rochester’s East End Festivals started in 1990 as a way to draw attention to the district – and have a good time.
In 1990, the East End had the Eastman School of Music and several bars, including Milestones, Richmond’s and whatever Salinger’s used to be called. There was no Sagamore, Spot Coffee, expensive apartments, Jazz Festival, 2Vine or Tournedos.
The East End has gentrified.
The East End Festival finds itself in a bind. The festivals, which take places on three Friday nights in the summer, draw thousands of people in their 20s and 30s to the district. East Ave. is blocked from Scio to Chestnut. There are beer trucks and bands. It’s a huge happy hour.
Saying they face opposition like never before, the organizers say the festival can’t go on. If it does continue, it won’t be the same:
Mike O’Leary, owner of Temple Bar and Grill, has been involved in planning East End Festivals for almost two decades. “They won’t be the same in the future. They’re over as people know them.”
O’Leary said he believes the festivals will continue and retain the name, but there will be fewer stages and streets blocked off and the event will be “more sensitive to neighbors.”
East End Festivals have been cited by many young people as a reason they like Rochester. There aren’t a lot of problems at the festivals, which charge admission. Organizers point out no one complains about the Jazz Festival. It’s not hard to see why. Jazz patrons have more money to spend at the new businesses.
Perhaps it makes more sense to hold the festival in the Upper East End, near East and Alexander, which is mostly a bar and restaurant district.
The organizers say they’re not under pressure from the city to make changes and are doing this as a preemptive strike. I suspect they’re also hoping by announcing the festivals are possibly over, they will gain support for keeping them the same.
Update: The organizers are now being more forceful in saying the festival will remain, but with the changes described above.
Links of the Day:
– A fairly explosive story details how former governor David Paterson’s staff wanted state police to replace his security detail with black and Hispanic officers. Former state police officials are shocked then-attorney general Andrew Cuomo seemingly did nothing with the information.
– That whole “women and children first” thing is a myth.