Summer In The City

Remember the Bite of Salem? Ya, thought so...well when I went to the Summer in the City event last Sunday I remember my group saying (multiple times) "its better than The Bite." I know I thought it too. Yes, Summer in the City Music and Wine Festival, brought to us by Go Downtown! Salem, had its flaws and about as big of a turn out as The Bite, but this event had something The Bite didn't, potential.

First, and probably the biggest plus, was the lack of fast food. Sure, they were frying up gigantic elephant ears in one tent, but the rest of the food tents were provided by local eateries. My dad and I indulged in the best possible combination of Adam's Ribs pulled pork sandwiches and Wandering Aengus draft cider (provided by SFNY). It was De-lic-ious! Other restaurants represented were La Margarita, Casey's Cafe, Alessandro's, SFNY, Little Cannoli, Browne's Towne Lounge, Coffee House Cafe, Grand Vines, Napoleon's, Hainan Orchid, and a few more. There were also a good number of wineries represented.

At times the caged areas seemed like ghost towns. I swear I saw some tumble weed early Saturday. You could tell the vendors were desperate for company too. Free water and pet supplies were abundant. I would like to commend the Go Down Town team for organizing such great music and some fun events. Its really too bad that the only draw for most Salemites was the evening music line up. With some adjustments, I think this could be a much needed summer event for Salem.


Salem Man said...

When I saw the fences and the $10 cover charge I knew this wasn't going to go over well in Salem. Someone told me they were charging a buck per wine tasting as well. The thought of having to pay to go somewhere that's normally free to buy stuff you can get easily nearby doesn't seem to make sense to me. A friend of mine who went told me they felt like asking for their money back.

KandN said...

Such a shame! The fences were such a turn-off, that I couldn't get past that. We strolled beside them for about a half hour before heading towards the Saturday Market. No tumbleweeds there!

Amy B. said...

Agreed, they should definitely rethink the fences and cover charge plan. I was so excited about the event until I learned about the high cover charge that didn't seem to include anything but entrance through the fence. Perhaps they should have made the entrance fee a donation, and sold tickets for food and wine tastings. 3 tickets for a beer, 2 for a burger, etc.

Lise M said...

Yup, cover charge was way too high. Even the Art Fair wants donations, not a cover charge. For my full opinion, not just the food centered one, go to my blog. Those reviews are a bit darker and more depressing. :-p My Blog

Anonymous said...

I am downtown constantly, but didn't go. $10 is way too high, and most of the bands were the usual blues rock you can find playing in Salem every weekend. The music had no variety, and few locals (no indie rock? no hip-hop? no bluegrass?). I think $5 is a more reasonable amount (similar to World Beat and Art Festival) and mix it up more with the music.

Rebekah said...

Amen to all of you! I loved this event last year, but couldn't even pay the cover of 7.50 on Sunday. I had planned on it, but when I ended up getting down there kind of late, it just seemed foolish to pay it when I could spend it at one of the surrounding restaurants and support an actual local business with that money. Lots of potential, but its not big enough yet to charge that kind of price!

KandN said...

OK, kids. Maybe it is because I have more life behind me than in front of me, or maybe it is because it doesn't take me as long to earn the $7.50 cover as it used to, but I thought Summer in the City was fun. The high points - I had the my favorite finger food: Adam's Ribs pulled pork sandwich; and my favorite beverage: Wandering Aengus draft cider; on an almost perfect sunny day. The higher point was that I got to hear two very talented musical groups, Pepe and the Bottle Blondes and Curtis Salgado all for slightly more than the price of parking at the State Fair.

Does it get any better than standing outside of "the fence" watching a couple of people, one in a wheelchair and one with a cane having the time of their life dancing to some of the best, most energetic music I've ever heard (and yes I've heard my share over the years). Curtis Salgado and his backup group can flat put out the blues and rock even for an audience of only 200 or so.

It wasn't the perfect event, but I am glad I went. Back to my rocker now for a nap.


Lise M said...

lol! N, pretty sure you aren't rocking-chair-old. But the fact that you saw KC and the Sunshine band back when they were popular isn't boding well for you. ;)

I agree, the music was pretty good. I didn't like the fact that Pepe kept mentioning how we didn't pay to see him. Whatever! I paid $7.50, though it was not specifically to see him, it was for the sake of curiosity for the event. There was a Regae band, but no one watched them. Sad. But maybe a hip-hop group at night by the poker tent would have been good.

Anonymous said...

Our family heard about this event but when the $10 cover charge was mentioned, that was the end of it.

As an earlier post mentioned, why pay $10 ($40 for a family of 4?!) for the privilege of patronizing a local business? Cover charges like these, over priced carnival rides and onerous rules (and fencing) are killing local events.

Smaller cities such as Silverton, Independence and Monmouth seem to be able to hold community events without excluding people with fees or fencing.

Anonymous said...

The event has a lot of potential. For the organizers it is damned if you do, damned if you don't. Charge a cover charge and you can get good bands, or no cover and struggle to get good bands and pay for the whole operation.

The fences and the $10 cover are the challenges to overcome going forward.

- The food was great. There was a lot of local restaurants represented. Adam's Rib and New York Pizza by the slice - yum.

- The beer was great - lots of good local micros and some good cheap beer options (for those of us who like to drink cold beer in the sun but not the heavy micros).

- Great wine tasting. Several friends found some local vintages that are new favorites.

- Good music. Not sure why there wasn't more local music for younger crowds. Heavy blues emphasis - which has a very specific following, but limited.

The high booth fee (over $100) prevented getting a lot of craft booths that you see at Saturday market and a lot of big festivals.

In the end, it was a good effort that just needs to be improved a bit here and there.

It is great to see effort being put into downtown. Downtown has gotten dramatically better over the past five years. If only there was more housing downtown (not the fancy condos...), it might take off.

Anonymous said...

I didn't go, I wasn't in the state last weekend. But I didn't even hear about it, so maybe a little more advertisement was needed?

Either way, a $10 cover sounds steep. Plus, is the only band Salem can get for an event Curtis Salgado? No offense, but some people like other types of music, and Salem absolutely discourages the younger crowds. There's never any punk, rarely hip hop or alternative and I happen to know that there are some good bands here and in Portland with some talented young people who will play for very little money. Come on, lets' have a little variety, and maybe people will show up at these things.

But kudos on not having a bunch of fast food there. I don't even bother going to the bite for just that reason.

KandN said...

Have you looked at the admittedly bias Go Salem description of this event? There were 20 groups at the event. I'd be curious if there wasn't something for everyone. I live 4.5 miles away and heard some the other groups from my place. There was a variety. (and no I am not complaining just saying I heard them). There was even more than one stage so you could hear different groups at the same time. BTW even the spouse one of the EatSalem regular readers played.

I understand the cover charge thing, although it was $10 one day and $7.50 the next. The Sunday event being a short day.


KandN said...

I sent an email asking whether the chain link fences would be gone this year. Here's what I was told by Suzi Bicknell, "Hello, Thanks for the question. We do have to have a fence per the OLCC.
Last year we could only find chain link or field fencing in the 6 ft. height. It was a decision based on cost, $5 per linear ft. for picket fencing or $1.25 a linear ft. for the chain link. This year we have 4 foot chain link and OLCC will allow us to use the 4ft height. It won't look like a prison. We are consolidating the layout and will not have a children's area. I felt it was not a good match with alcohol promotion and children. We are also tenting the stage area. Our line up is exciting and will be posted to the site today. Let me know if you have any other questions."