Dias de la Crescent at Civic Space Park was an overwhelming success in many ways. But the most impressive might be that the main draw for the estimated 3,500 people who attended the festivities were local bands.
Locals playing the park included Phoenix heavyweights Black Carl and Dry River Yacht Club, as well as Tucson's Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, who play Phoenix so often they should probably invest in real estate here. During the festival's equally popping second half, which took place at night in Crescent Ballroom, Tempe's Gospel Claws took the stage, flanked by Tuscon's Gabriel Sullivan and Phoenix's iamwe.
If anyone ever doubted the health of Phoenix's music scene, shove this festival down their throats.
The festival was also the first time (at least that we can recall) people fenced off Civic Space Park for a music festival. Fans bought $5 PBR and $7 microbrews from Four Peaks Brewing Company all night, ate food from various local food trucks, and rocked out to Arizona bands for hours. Families dotted the festival's lawn, enjoying the music side-by-side with the hipsters and various music appreciators.
All in all, it was a fairly wonderful display of the potential of Civic Space Park as a festival venue. Last weekend, Artistic Celebration of the Americas Alliance (CALA) put on a cumbia festival in the park, even bringing Sergio Mendoza, but lack of promotion hampered turnout, and the crowds that showed for CALA's event were a mere whisper of the roaring masses that came out for Dias de la Crescent. By fencing off the park, people were able to drink beers anywhere they wished in the park, which is worlds better than having to drink your beer in a roped-off (approximately) 500-square-feet cube with a skewed view of the stage, as was the case for CALA's event. So take note, concert promoters -- Civic Space Park has loads of potential as a concert venue, and if you throw the event, with the proper bands and promotion, people will come.
Civic Space Park wasn't the only place to get a makeover for the festival. At Crescent Ballroom, they roped off the sidewalks on Second Avenue and extended the boundaries of the venue a bit. And people filled almost every inch of the extra space. Inside the ballroom -- where festivities started a tad later than planned -- hundreds rocked out to bands like Gospel Claws.
Civic Space Park is the most important public space in downtown Phoenix. It's the most beautiful, centrally located park, and it contains Phoenix's most talked-about piece of public art, Janet Echelman's "Her Secret is Patience." The more the movers and shakers use it, the more Phoenix residents will cherish it, fostering more support for the parks and for green spaces in general downtown. Three cheers for Stateside Presents for making Dias de la Crescent such a raging success, and let's hope that everyone else in town will follow their example.
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