Changing the East End Festival?
Posted at: 07/10/2012 4:35 PM
| Updated at: 07/10/2012 5:36 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com
News10NBC is tracking possible changes that could be coming to the East End Festival. Business owners and residents on East Avenue are urging festival organizers to do something that benefits more than just the bar owners.
The main issue business owners up and down the East End have with the festival is the fact to get on the road you have to pay. They say sure this is great for the bars, but no one is coming down, paying to get in and visiting the retail shops. So they are putting pressure on the festival organizers to make some changes.
Right now, Julie Bernunzio, who owns Bernunzio Uptown Music on East Avenue, says when it comes to the East End Festival, things are one sided. As a retail shop, the festival negatively affects her business.
Bernunzio said, “People can't get in and out; they don't want to even try and come down. It basically shuts down any kind of retail business because people aren't here to shop. They are here to drink and listen to music.”
Bernunzio says on nights of the festival, her shop literally closes down because her customers can’t get to it.
Bernunzio said, “They can't get in here because they close off all the entrances, the possible entrances to this area are with a ticket booth. So unless you pay to get in, you can't get in.”
Ryan Yarmel lives at East Avenue Commons and parks at a garage across the street. He says it’s hard for him to get home on festival nights.
Yarmel said, “You can’t get past the gates, they have security. So without having a resident pass or having some mail, you aren’t really able to get across the street.”
John Hutchings, the lead organizer of the East End Festival, says they have compromised many times with business owners and residents.
Hutchings said, “We have made changes within the last few years. We’ve eliminated some stages and taken the music away from the residential stages, so we’ve kind of met some of these concerns and addressed them.”
Hutchings says when it comes to the issue of the admission gates, they are one of the reasons the festival has stayed safe and arrest-free for years.
Hutchings said, “We control it all very well through the use of those gates. We ID strongly. We make sure underage drinking isn’t a problem.”
The admission money goes to paying for the festival, because unlike others, the city of Rochester does not fund the East End Fest. Hutchings says there is a middle ground; it just will take patience from both sides.
Hutchings said, “I think there is room for more change and we are working towards that, but it is a complicated issue.”
The business owners say they want to make it clear they don’t want to shut down the festival, they just want to see things change so everyone can be happy.
The next East End Festival is Friday July 13.