Thanks Bulletin for telling me what's best for my business.
"Don't Kill Downtown Festivals, Tame Them."
These are the same arguments I've heard for 30 years.
"There are already limits on the number of festivals"...."that can close off downtown streets."
Some limit. 3 weekends out of 4. So they let us have one summer weekend per month to actually benefit from the summer business.
"Reservations for July and August dates will probably be full for the next 100 years...." "Demand for January and February for street closures is typically light.:
And yet somehow -- it's O.K for downtown businesses to pay their high rents during the "typically light" months. But outside vendors are allowed to avoid these months, and cherry pick our busiest season.
"There have been questions and concerns about downtown street closures for years."
And these questions and concerns have been utterly ignored. I should know -- I think I've been about the only downtown business owner who has been willing to go on record. What's most interesting about this, is that they have pushed these events so hard that others are finally speaking up.
"It's not like the city can just look through the books of all the downtown businesses and tally up the sales data."
Hey, my business goes down during events. I'm not lying. But somehow that fact falls on deaf ears.
"The crowds also bring exposure if they don't bring immediate sales. That exposure can encourage visitors to make more trips."
Wait a minute. Didn't you just ask for evidence? Prove the above assertion, because I don't believe it's true any more, no matter how much sense it makes on the surface. Really. Prove it.
In fact, I've told the Bulletin that I think they should do a survey of other cities, to see how they handle these things. How often are streets closed in downtown districts? How often in the summer? What are the restrictions and costs? Are there any studies (not paid for by the promotion industry) that actually prove the long term benefits?
" Bend has a downtown that many communities would love to have. The city must not jeopardize Bend's vibrancy..."
You know what? That's just insulting. It isn't the festivals that make downtown vibrant! It's the businesses. The festivals are feeding off that vibrancy, not the other way around. These street closures should be in proportion to how much we need them. Years ago, downtown Bend needed as many events as possible.
But as we actually succeeded, we should have begun to tail off on the number of events but instead -- like Frankenstein's monster -- they've taken on a momentum that apparently can't be stopped.
It is unbelievably frustrating to see these events continually expand.
3 days ago