Letters from the week of June 10
I just wanted to comment on Jason Harper’s article on Kansas City, Kansas, leaders cracking down on Dawayne Gilley’s KCK Street Blues Festival. Once again, The Pitch is providing an interesting insider look into an important Kansas City issue. I’ve been a semi-regular attendee at several KC-area, outdoor blues shows and festivals, and in years past, the KCK Street Blues Festival has been one of the best. I can understand that an opportunity to hawk booze to a semi-captive crowd might override the free festival’s appeal to area businesses and interested, local politicos, but I’d say there are plenty of local business owners and community members who are thrilled to have this kind of activity once a year in KCK’s Northeast District. The article highlighted some of the great points behind keeping this festival going: the lessened crime rate, something backed up by local police; and Jerry Thompson’s assertion that events like this keep tourist dollars flowing in. (I know every time I go to KCK, I end up stopping in to Camino Real!)
In short, I want to ask for continued, active coverage of this story. What can a reader and the KCK faithful do to help Mr. Gilley out? If a larger vendor like the 7th Street Casino is going to turn its back on the event, will smaller businesses lend a hand? Where’s the Camino Real taco stand and beeratorium? The Oklahoma Joe’s rib giveaway?
Keep up the good reporting!
Maybe I’m reading it all wrong, but I see the nasty fingerprints of potential greed and blind bureaucracy all over the cancellation of the KCK Street Blues Festival. As an aspiring KCK resident just waiting on the sale of my property in Miami, this appalls me. I’d hate to be disabused of my impression that KCK is a city on the cusp of a rebirth borne on the shoulders of the present cultural mix and its own rich and acknowledged past. I was an appreciative patron of both days of last year’s festival and was eager to rejoin my to-be neighbors swaying, sipping and dancing again this year. A block party is about family, extended. Certainly the festival’s peaceful and joyous nine-year track record should count for something with the Unified Government’s city fathers? Or, foolish me, maybe KCK is not the resident-friendly and attuned place I’ve envisioned? It may be too late to save this year’s edition of the festival, but I’d hope that Mayor Reardon and other leaders can find a way to, say, grandfather a clause here or there to set the stage for a 2011 Street Blues Festival that’s both community- and cooler-friendly. It would be the right thing to do for KCK to make it happen the Gilley way.
Kansas City, Kansas
As they do every year, Pitch reporters collected more hardware at the Kansas City Press Club’s annual Awards Banquet on Saturday night at the Muehlebach Hotel.
Competing against daily papers, The Pitch swept the Entertainment Reporting category, with Peter Rugg’s “Story of My Life” taking home Gold, Justin Kendall’s “Air Guitar Hero” winning Silver, and Rugg’s “Spit Happens” bringing in the Bronze.
Other Gold winners: Carolyn Szczepanski in Business Reporting for “The Ripple Effect” and Nadia Pflaum in Magazine Story for “Denim and Death.”
A Silver also went to Szczepanski in the Profile category for “There Will be Blood.”
Additional Bronzes: Rugg in Feature Reporting for “True, True Blood,” Alan Scherstuhl in the Profile category for “The Big Tease,” and Charles Ferruzza in the Non-News Column category for his Café reviews.
Honorable Mentions: Pflaum for “Kansas City’s Nuclear Fallout” and “Dead Man” in General Reporting, and Casey Lyons for “The Oldest Professional” in the Profile category.
These and other great stories fill the archives at pitch.com.