Thursday, June 29, 2006

Momma Said Knock You Out

Summerfest starts today.


Nothing to get a city all wound up better than $12 bucks to get in, and $6 bucks for a 12oz cup of beer. Woo hoo.

And there's nothing like hanging out with 100,000 of your closest friends for a whole day. ( said sarcastically ) But it's really quite a concept, and something that everyone should go to once in their lives. I realize most people that come across this blog are local, but if you're not, some summer, plan a trip to Summerfest. Tons of free concerts, and if you plan ahead, you can really see some great acts for free. Plus, they have two great firework shows. One to kick off Summerfest - and the city of Milwaukee puts on the 4th of July fireworks show on the evening of the 3rd ( as to not conflict will all the smaller suburban shows on the 4th ). It's been estimated that some half a million people work their way down to the lakefront for the firework shows. I say it's worth it, but I LOVE me some fireworks. One of my favorite things on this here earf.

But something Summerfest related came to my attention that I wanted to vent about. My least favorite writer for the Journal/Sentinel found something else to bitch about. Eugene Kane is lamenting about the lack of hip-hop artists that are performing at Summerfest this year. I generally avoid commenting on Kane because, well, I think he's too over the top. I fully acknowledge that race is one of the most important issues in our culture, but not EVERYTHING is about race. Many times, he does make a valid point about race issues that I might not have thought of. But often times, he goes looking for a fight where there's no fight to be had - or will interject race into a situation where it's not called for.

This is one of these times.

Race is not the reason there's not a lot of hip-hop acts performing at Summerfest. Alot of it has to do with business decisions, and alot of it has to do with the fact that there's 100 available non-hip-hop acts out there for every available hip-hop act.

Milwaukee has a very large African-American segment. But you wouldn't know that if you're from out of town, and just came to visit Summerfest. The majority - hell - just about everybody that goes to Summerfest is white. In the photo gallery on, there's 168 photos. In any of the shots, there's no black patrons.

But it's not that hip-hop isn't invited to Summerfest, and I'm not saying that white people don't like hip-hop. Two years ago, I went to go see LL Cool J perform at a free stage. And again, at least 90% of the audience was white. And maybe it's just me, or maybe it was just that performance, but I wasn't all that impressed. I like LL Cool J, but I didn't think the music translated all that well to a live performance. A few years back, a Tribe Called Quest performed on a free stage. The Temptations ( the freakin' Temptations! ) are performing this year. Mary J. Blige is going to perform there. Those are some huge names in the music industry. I'm sure there have been others, but I haven't paid enough attention to Summerfest to notice - and not just the hip-hop acts, but I haven't even looked much at the rock and roll acts.

Hip-hop acts don't go on tour that much compared to the other music types. The Marcus Amphitheater hosts plenty of shows during non-Summerfest times. This year, ZERO hip-hop acts are performing there.

I love music, and if I had more time and energy, I'd prolly make an effort to go down and catch a couple of free shows. But even for my music tastes, there's not many acts worth the effort this year. Although, Digital Underground is going to be there this year. Maybe I'll drop Eugene Kane an email, and see if he wants to go see the Freaks of the Industry with me.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger clids32 said...

Summerfest is a rip! Major Goolsby's took over the beer vending for the entire fest for the second year in a row. They couldn't handle 200 employees let alone 2000! "Don't pass that red line or you'll be fired" mentality of the tent managers pisses me off. They're reason: $300 a barrel. And they say Summerfest is losing money. They could charge $1.00 a cup and still make money. SF officials forget that this is Milwaukee. Idiots!!


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