EDITORIAL: Method Used To Convey Ideas About The Revitalization Effort Of Mesker Amphitheater…

first_imgWith great skepticism, we attended one of the sessions that the Mayor is sponsoring to hear what the public wants to do with Mesker Amphitheater.  The session began with a “tour” of what remains of the historic landmark that holds a special place in the hearts of many Evansvillians.  It was very similar to visitation at a funeral home when a friend has passed on, with shared memories and a sense of melancholy.If the tour was like viewing a corpse, the discussion held afterward was like a session with a grief counselor. Led by Lynn Miller Pease of Leadership Evansville, it felt like an exercise in futility for anyone who came there with a viable plan for making Mesker a lively outdoor venue for music and entertainment again.  Participants were encouraged to “think outside the box” and were asked not to argue amongst themselves.Participants were given four topics of discussion, including what we wanted the site to be and how the project could be financed. The process seemly  took on the pointless, too cute by half characteristics typical of the “brainstorming” sessions Pease is known for facilitating. Instead of inviting people to publicly speak to the group, we were instructed to write or draw our ideas on Post-It-Notes and stick them on larger papers headed with the suggested topics.There was at least one person in the group who has a great deal of technical knowledge in the field of media and entertainment production who chose to walk away from the process.  She felt if the quest to save Mesker was legitimate, then serious input from knowledgeable individuals would be sought instead of exposing them to the dog and pony show.  She also felt this method made it impossible to openly convey a coherent comprehensive ideas about the revitalization effort of Mesker Amphitheater.She also wonder what would have been wrong with offering an open mic and logical discourse, instead of cutesy gibberish that can be easily dismissed. Given the opportunity, she would have suggested that the City take a look at the new “Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater” in Nashville. It has no concession stands or restrooms. Port-a-johns and food trucks take their place. Dressing rooms are replaced by trailers, and band buses have convenient parking. The bulk of the money spent at Fontanel went into making it a great venue for artists, with good acoustics, state-of-the art technical hook-ups, and functional equipment loading docks. “Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater” minimalist approach appears to quite successful.  Bottom line, her idea is seemly is an affordable way to save Mesker Amphitheater from the wreaking ball and is worth exploring.Evansville is a strong market for Country and Western acts, and it has become clear that most bands prefer outdoor venues in summer. If something similar to Fontanel was done on Mesker Park Drive, the word would get out among touring acts and Evansville could again have great summer entertainment. We now know that the Ford Center is not going to attract acts that tour in the summer, so this wouldn’t really compete with it.We hope that we will not be told that the public failed to offer a way to save Mesker Amphitheater, and that it will fall to the wrecking ball in the same way Robert’s Stadium did.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img