By Charles Sercombe
Could this be the beginning of the end of the Hamtramck Blowout?
This year’s attendance seemed to be down by half, some said, and there is plenty of blowback coming from bar owners and fans of the music festival.
The reason for the dramatic downturn, many said, was that festival organizers, The Metro Times, expanded the event to include Ferndale.
“That’s what happens when you split it in two,” said Mikel Smith, the owner of Detroit Threads.
Hamtramck’s portion of the Blowout happened last weekend and this weekend it’s Ferndale’s turn.
Smith sold wrist bracelets for the Blowout and said that in past years he would have a line of people out the door waiting to purchase them. This year, he said, there was one 10-minute rush.
“The rest of the evening there were just stragglers,” he said.
Metro Times Publisher Chris Sexson told The Review that attendance was indeed way down this year.
“Spreading the bands over two weekends, we expected it to be down,” he said.
Sexson denied there is a plan to move the festival out of Hamtramck to Ferndale, which is what some in town believe is in the works. Sexson said the expansion was needed to bring in more revenue. He said turnout in Hamtramck has been trending down in recent years.
“There has to be evolution,” he said. “This year we made a bold move. We just want to keep it going.”
Cathie Gordon, who owns New Dodge Lounge and is a city councilmember, said she was offended when Sexson told the council the festival was expanding into Ferndale.
“We’re hungry, we need this festival. Ferndale doesn’t,” she said.
Sexson also stirred up some resentment in a quote he gave to the Oakland Press. He told the paper that one reason he included Ferndale is because “… I’ve found, even among some of the younger music and creative people, that some people don’t want to go down there, the same as some people might not want to go into downtown Detroit. It’s just outside of their comfort zone.”
In response, the owner of Lo and Behold, a used record and book store on Jos. Campau, is holding his own music festival tonight (Friday, May 4) called “How I learned to stop worrying and love Hamtramck.”
On the store’s Facebook page, the owner said:
“For the performers not accepted to play in Ferndale,
“For people who want to see good bands play for free and need not the hassle of security guard scrutiny over overpriced bracelets,
“For those of us who remember when it was called the Hamtramck Blowout and want it to stay that way,
“For those of us who played over the weekend to a crowd divided cuz half the normal attendance decided not to ‘step outside of their comfort zones’ and stay in the suburbs until the following weekend,
“For Hamtramck who needs this little economic stimulus more than Ferndale ever did or ever will
“For those who want to keep this party a party and not an uptight business venture for those north of the border,
“For those of us who feel a responsibility to our community and carry too much love and pride for what little we have no matter how f***ed up or weird it might be to people who probably will never understand anyway,
“I encourage Hamtramck to keep this party here regardless if the name’s Blownout of town or not, we’ve hosted it and will continue to do so.”
Sexson said that it seems no matter what he says, “It’s damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”
“We’re just trying to save the festival,” he added.
May 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm
Just perhaps your headline ought to read.
“HAMTRAMCK LOSES MUCH OF ITS WIND…….we need to look in the mirror”
I played in the Hamtramck version of Metrotimes Blowout last year and I played the Ferndale version the Metrotimes Blowout this year. I can offer a pretty decent compare and contrast of both experiences. I guess the first thing I would point out out is the fact that between the year I played in Hamtramck and Ferndale, a 27 yr old man was the victim of an attempted MURDER that took place at the New Dodge Bar in January 2013. This fine classy establishment is owned and operated by one of Hamtramcks city council people and plays host to several bands during the blowout. But, clearly the place is not safe if people are nearly murdered when they patronize the place. The owner is putting alot of young people at risk by hosting such an event in a violent drug plagued neighborhood wherein murder and attempted murder is “normal”. Cathie Gordon offers no added safety and security to the musicians that play or the patrons that she so desperately needs to sell alcohol to. Frankly all I think she cares about is the owe mighty dollar based on your quotes of her regarding the blowout. Clearly the last thing she cares about is the music or the patrons. Somebody needs to wake up and smell the Tyskie.
The last time I played the Hamtramck blowout there was no added police presence that was evident at all. Public safety is horrible in Sleezy Hamtreezy in the first place and the city is probably too broke from corruption to offer cops overtime to beef up security during the Blowouat. So, while I was walking several blocks (there is no safe secure municipal parking lots near the blowout venues) to the gig, carrying my gear, 3 idiots ran up on me and threatened to rob me of my gear. I counted to three a loud and then I hit one idiot square in the jaw with a conga and heard a loud crack then they ran off. I guess that’s just normal, acceptable and part of the deal when you have the pleasure of playing a gig in “Sleezy Hamtreezy”. I actually have the misfortune of living in Sleezy Hamtreezy. I know dead bodies are getting dumped in Sleezy Hamtreezy down the street from where I live. As a matter of fact I read that info here in your crime log a few months back, thank you for keeping me posted on the dead bodies dumped on my block. I highly doubt it would have made any difference in making any po po report about this incident I encountered last year with some idiots at the Hamtreezy Blowout. Clearly the po po are busy with dead bodies being dumped in the streets of Hamtreezy. Whats more, none of the po po actually live in Hamtreezy nor do they really give a damn about the residents of the city. Kinda like the Fire department.
Anyhow, lets contrast my experience in Ferndizzle last weekend. IT WAS GREAT. The venue I played had a safe secure parking and load in area set up for all the musicians right by their front door. The venue I played gave my entire band free drinks on the house and the owner was extremely thankful and gracious for the MUSICIANS BRINGING BUSINE$$ TO THE ESTABLISHMENT. My band played a great gig in a safe secure venue and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Outside on the streets there was clearly a beefed up police presence with lots of officers walking the beat and patrolling the entire area with cars and trucks. IT IS SAFE. After the gig I actually walked out of the venue and on to the streets for some fresh air after really heating up a dancehall. I mentioned to my wife that I felt so safe that if I wanted to I could stick a one hundred dollar bill on my forehead and walk around Ferndizzle screaming “i got money” and no one would have bothered me or even looked twice. Try that anywhere in Hamtreezy at close to 2 am, let alone in front of the New Dodge Murder Spot. The parking, the venue owners, the fans, the police, the level of civility in the city is all 100% better in Ferndizzle. There really is no comparison.
I hope that the whole blowout is in fact moved completely to Ferndizzle. DETROIT WOULD BE A SAFER LOCATION AS WELL. This way Hamtreezy can focus on bigger issues that absolutely plague the city. NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR A PARTY IN SLEEZY HAMTREEZY. By the way I am getting the hell out of Hamtreezy as soon as humanly possible so long as the crack dealers posted up on my corner everyday and night do not victimize me before I can move.
The total and utter lack of public safety is unlivable. The grass IS greener……………and that’s probably because their is no incinerator dust constantly raining dioxins upon it. I actually think that the entrenched lifers that have led the city to the place it finds itself possibly suffer some sort of IQ deficiencies from the drastic rate of dioxins they breath everyday from the worlds largest waste incinerator. Scientific research in fact proves that people exposed to the level of dioxins that are a constant in the Hamtreezy air do in fact suffer cognition problems and a variety of dysfunctions in thinking. Perhaps that’s what is happening here in Sleezy Hamtreezy. Collective Dioxin Driven Cognition Disorder. CDDCD. Like I said wake up and smell the Tyskie.
May 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Hamtramck Musician, what’s your name so we can support or not support your art?
May 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Hamtramck Musician, print your bands name or I will assume you are full of it. Actually, I’m going to assume you are full of it based on the use of “Hamtreezy” and “Ferndizzle” – what is this — 2005?
And why would there need to be a “beefed up” police presence in Ferndale if it’s safe in the first place?
Glad the changes to the blowout have worked out so well.
i saw it
May 15, 2013 at 8:20 am
i watched the shooting outside new dodge. out of towners causing trouble. should we put up walls? body dumps. also out of towners. again… where are you going with this? there have been multiple car jackings, robberies, murders, rapes, etc in ferndale over the past few years. even an abduction and rape/robbery outside of a bar there. hell, i have had a few close calls there myself. no place is immune to crime. especially not one that’s just a few exits away from the town you paint to look like a desolate crime ridden hell.
maybe you should move to pluto. i hear there’s no crime there. everywhere else? yup. it’s there. trust me mr. “musician”… as someone who has toured most of the us and europe. it’s there. my guess is that you’re not aware of the outside world and it’s crime. my tip to you – read any major urban paper. crime is everywhere in major urban areas and the surrounding area.
i’ve played the blowout about 4 or 5 times now (not the past few years) and was always paid, taken care of, and had a good time for what it was.
May 15, 2013 at 11:53 am
I wish Hamtramck Musician would quit whining for long enough to pack up his shit and get the hell out of the city. If all you’re going to do is complain while not actually doing anything about it, we don’t want you here anyway. And what band are you even in? I’d like to hear it myself, because in my opinion any musician that played the Blowout and lives in Hamtramck but wishes they lived in Ferndale is nothing but a poseur.
Poseur (noun): a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person
Personally, I like the urban dictionary definition a little better. It’s been [slightly altered] to reflect the current situation:
One who groups him or her self in a particular social clique in order to appear trendy or “edgy” but doesn’t believe in the principals held by said clique and is only leeching onto it in order to avoid the social ridicule of not being part of a clique. A poseur will probably change their “style” once every 6 months, possibly more.
The common thread is insecurity- the insecurity to be yourself and be happy with it. Poseurs are the kinds of people who only appear “cool” to people who are just as insecure as they are. But no one ever found success lying to themselves for acceptance.
“Those mall punks are such poseurs, they have anarchy signs written all over their All-Stars, but not a single one of the retarded 8 year olds knows what it is, or that the sweatshopped armbands they all bought at Hot Topic support the system they claim to be rebelling against. Now lets go home and listen to some [Hamtramck Musician] and cry so we can be hardcore,” says the pussy emo kid with the rich parents and cute girlfriend, who has nothing to complain about, before I punch him.