This past summer the attendance was down by 40%. The claim by the producers was “bad weather” but I’m pretty sure the summer of 2012 was mostly excellent. The City also added a $2 admission fee- which hardly seems like it would affect customers very much.
The long term problem for the concert series is the obvious one: they are in a crappy location. A hot, treeless parking lot, whose perimeter is a solid wall of porta-potties, is not any kind of “festival site.” It was always a lousy venue, unfriendly, stark, and charmless. Why the City and promoters have stayed there so long is a mystery.
Now the City wants some new ideas. Of course the best existing site is Manhattan Square Park, a completely underused asset. The City claims it is too small for the potential number of customers. Ditto for High Falls and a few other places. If they city blocked off northbound traffic on Chestnut street and made a few other adjustments, Manhattan Park could work. Concert revenues might pay for improvements to make the park even better and more accommodating.
If you have any ideas for ways to make Party-In-The-Park better fling them over to Gary Walker at the City of Rochester. Remember: 1) The concerts MUST be in downtown Rochester and 2) Not require a major investment or renovation to work.