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Last week the Capitol Riverfront BID announced the lineup of its 6th annual Friday Night Concert Series at the Yards Park, starting on May 20 and running through September 2.
In addition to passing along the news that this year the concerts will be located on the "great lawn" on the west side of the park rather than the past location along the boardwalk (which might be tied to the expected construction later this year of the new District Winery building), there was this tidbit:
"This year, Modelo and Corona will be the exclusive beer and wine vendor, featuring beverages for every taste. A variety of food vendors will be onsite in The Yards tailgate area, or attendees can pack a picnic from the 32+ neighboring restaurants. In order to maintain the beauty of Yards Park, reduce its environmental footprint, and provide a clean and safe environment for all to enjoy, no outside alcoholic beverages may be brought into the premises, and security officers reserve the right to inspect all items brought into Yards Park, including coolers."
As one might imagine, this isn't going over well with some longtime attendees, and there's already a Change.org petition with more than 1,100 signatures asking the BID to reverse the decision, with a lot of very pointed comments from signees about the choice of a non-local sponsor, the impact on the family-friendly atmosphere of the events, and more.
UPDATE: Here is a letter from the BID in response to the displeasure about this move. As one observer posited in this comment thread, the crowd size was indeed one of the concerns, with attendance now "routinely" topping 3,000 attendees, causing problems with the park's insurance and cleanup, as well as raising concerns about safety. As for not going with a local beverage offering for the concert sponsorship this year, the BID says that Bluejacket declined an opportunity similar to their role as a 2014 concert sponsor--and that the sponsorships "directly support ongoing maintenance, repairs, or programming in the park."
Comments (15)
   
 
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conngs0 says: (5/9/16 1:02 PM)
Going after the revenue stream is entirely predictable and was indeed predicted by many, but this really is a weak decision on the part of the BID.

I hope they reconsider, but if they don't, I hope they at least properly execute the new set-up. They aren't off to a great start at securing a good selection of beverages, but at least they should make sure there are enough stations to get a drink without having to spend the entire concert in line. I'll give it a shot, but I don't anticipate attending nearly as many concerts this year I did in the past.


JD says: (5/9/16 1:08 PM)
I might venture a guess that the crowd size shrinking was a consideration when this decision was made.


JHUGrad says: (5/9/16 2:02 PM)
I don't think this policy will last. A lot of my neighbors are upset about this.


keith18 says: (5/9/16 2:31 PM)
This takes a really nice thing and ruins it. I'd have been happy to pay a cover charge or fee to bring my own booze to support the organizers. But I definitely don't want to drink bad beer and have to smuggle in wine in a clean canteen.

On top of that conngs0 is right. The set up will likely be poor. There will be long lines with only two beer choices. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


RMP says: (5/9/16 2:31 PM)
I guess I'm in the minority in that I can live without the BYOB. There are potentially going to be a thousand more residents this summer than last and crowd sizes already seemed like they were at capacity. The growth of the neighborhood alone pretty much doomed the BYOB.

The choice of Corona/Modelo for the exclusive sponsorship is terrible though. Plus the idea that they could spin it as an environmental win as if people wouldn't see right through that. Hopefully they can salvage it by offering more choices at decent prices ($5 /beer would be acceptable). We've already got Nats games for the times we want to overpay for beer.


DCisforLovers says: (5/9/16 3:36 PM)
Yeah, this is tough to take. Having been going to these events over the last few years its been such a unique draw to have BYOB, it saves people time and money because every event I have seen that is held at Yards Park has been managed terribly and people have to wait in a painfully long line just to pay $10 to get crappy beer or wine. I see this as being no different.

However, I feel that last year the crowds were by far the largest they have ever been, you could barely walk around comfortably, also I noticed crowds staying a lot later. And now that they are moving this to the other side of Yards Park where I feel there is even less space for people to sit, coupled with large influx in Navy Yard residents and word of mouth spreads about this great event over the past year, this will simply grow out of control. This will be interesting to see!


CHTexpat says: (5/9/16 7:36 PM)
I guess it got so crowded nobody ever goes there anymore )


G Street says: (5/10/16 9:50 AM)
The horror...


JD says: (5/10/16 12:47 PM)
BID not budging:

link



conngs0 says: (5/10/16 1:55 PM)
Thanks for the update, JD.

Again, neither the decision nor the disingenuously stated rationale for the switch is surprising. At the end of the day, if the BID wants to open up a revenue stream (as opposed to simply having an adequate number of trash cans onsite), that's their prerogative. The BID has so far used its funds to make constructive additions to the common spaces of the neighborhood, so I trust that will continue to be the case with the sponsorship dollars from the concert series.


JD says: (5/10/16 2:37 PM)
I've updated the post with a link to the BID's statement, just out:

link



Shogungts says: (5/10/16 8:10 PM)
From the link JD provided: "We understand the disappointment many have expressed, and we are heartened by the loyalty that is being displayed for Bluejacket and other local businesses. In 2014, Bluejacket was a sponsor of the concerts and also vended in the park. The BID was approached by other potential sponsors who offered partnership opportunities, and Bluejacket declined a similar sponsorship."

They sure did come up with a nice way to say they sold out.

I get it, we live in a capitalist society and would not be happy, but would accept this if it was a private company whose goal was to make the most money possible. But the BID is not a private company whose goal is to make the most money possible and while their decisions should certainly take financials into account, they should balance non financial benefits as well.


tspaquin says: (5/12/16 3:34 PM)
Here's what you do: whatever is being sold, buy some at Harris Teeter before you go. How will they know that you bought the bottle of Corona or Negra Modelo in your hand from Harris Teeter? That way you'll pay 1/6 the price. Problem solved! Except if you don't like Corona or Negra Modelo.


CJBabyDaddy says: (5/12/16 5:53 PM)
If safety is one of the rationales offered for the new arrangement, it seems that the first thing they'd ban at the entrances would be glass bottles, followed by cans.

What's your Plan B?


JES says: (5/14/16 10:43 AM)
How the hell are they gonna police this? They'd have to set up a fence around the lawn every single Friday if they want to have entry checkpoints. Will there just be roving fun police confiscating anything that was brought in?

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