Thursday, January 15, 2009

WTFisconsin: Jazz in the Park Shoots Itself In Foot

I usually defend Milwaukee. Especially when people from more "enlightened" cities try and use it as the butt of a joke. I am quick to point out all that Milwaukee has "going on," especially in its fabulous summertime. One of the top five "cool" factor things I inevitably will point out is Jazz in the Park.

"Jazz" is a Milwaukee Summer Institution. And it's one of the reasons I live where I live, one block east of Cathedral Square. A Thursday night gathering of the masses, this chill event is the place to catch up with friends, people-watch, halfway listen to music and imbibe in a couple glasses of BYOB wine.

Until today, the COLDEST DAY IN 13 YEARS in this town that cherishes every ounce of its summer....when the East Town Association announced the most devastating news ever.

There will be no more carry-ins at Jazz in the Park.

They cite some state statute that apparently isn't anything new, it's just been overlooked apparently for 19 years.

Ever heard of changing the law?

Nope, instead they are disappointing thousands of Milwaukeeans, many of whom are the exact young professionals they always whine about not retaining.

In my opinion, this is the most colossal Milwaukee blunder since my alma mater Marquette University tried to change its mascot to the "Gold," instead of keeping it the Golden Eagles or moving back to the Warriors. Luckily the community voice was strong enough that the decision was reversed within days.

Will it be the same with Jazz? The Twittersphere exploded right away, with several folks vowing to contact their alderperson. I emailed mine, Bob Bauman, immediately. I will keep you posted if his office responds. has a much more level-headed view on this than I do (I never claimed to be an unbiased site, I just keep some opinions in check because of the nature of my day job), and I encourage you to read their opinions. Their suggestions for alternate revenue options are definitely something the Jazz folks should go back and consider.

In the meantime, I'm curious if there would be enough folks who could unite for a little good ol' fashioned civil disobedience at the first Jazz this year? I'd love to see them filling up the paddy wagons with young professionals grasping their Two Buck Chuck. I bet nothing would get the laws changed quicker.

Yes we can!


  1. Yeah, I think this definitely might kill the event.

    I think the most important thing to know is that this clearly isn't the end. There are still a few things that might happen.

    1. The status quo will be restored
    2. An explosion of vendors will bring the liquor store closer to the event.
    3. The event will be massively down-scaled.

  2. I'm down with the civil disobedience. :-)


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