By Katelyn Sonderman
While there were some execution issues with Grassroots festival this past weekend, I am going to put myself out on a limb and say it was FUN.
Did some people have to wait in line for a long time? Yes. Were drinks and food expensive? Yes. But for those who have been going to music festivals for almost a decade, this is nothing new.
I went to Bonnaroo in 2012, (the year the Beatles God graced Tennessee), and I waited for almost four hours in a car to get into the camping area, not even the festival itself. When I got to the front of the line, we were instructed to get out, and we were patted down while ALL belongings in the car were searched. It was a much longer process than a simple pat down we received at the gates. For those who happened to arrive at the festival at peak times, waits were reported to be almost 12 hours.
Also, while I will admit the food costs were high at Grassroots, they were comparable to those at Bonnaroo. I have seen 24 packs of PBR go for well over $100 at those events, and they are CAMPING events where people can’t leave the campgrounds for four days. Vendor meals at that event were also typically $10-$15.
As far as lineup changes go, while they can be disappointing, they are a reality of festivals. Flights can be missed. People can be waiting on gear. Weather or any number of reasons can cause a change in the line-up. I have been to festivals that have had three or more acts cancel in a six-month time purchasing my ticket to the actual event. Wakarusa, a popular festival on the mountains, is known to have crazy storms where at times up to one quarter of the acts cannot perform.
Am I saying that the Grassroots festival went perfectly? No. Were there things I would change? Absolutely. But, the fact of the matter is that Grassroots pulled off something that has never been achieved in Omaha: A huge three-day music event with several national acts every night.
In Omaha, we are constantly expanding, and we have the opportunity to be a thriving metropolis for the arts. Yahoo recently named Benson one of the 10 hippest neighborhoods in America, and tourists are constantly impressed with our city. If we want to continue to grow in the music community, we need to band together and work toward its improvement, not trash somebody’s attempt at taking our scene to the next level.
I personally look forward to seeing what happens next. This was the Dom Group’s first attempt at a three-day festival. While there were issues, MOST of them were corrected for the last two days of the event. Omaha is an awesome community with the potential for amazing growth, and I can’t wait for next year.