Now that the annual Metro Times Hamtramck Blowout has come and gone, it’s time to take stock.
Bar and hall owners say that this year’s Blowout was a fizzle, with about half the number of people attending, compared to previous years. They lay blame for this directly on The Metro Times for expanding the festival for another week in Ferndale.
Splitting the festival with Hamtramck hosting the event one week and Ferndale the next appears to have diluted Hamtramck’s attendance.
Having said that, The Metro Times has every right to do what it wants with this private festival.
We take interest because this event is a huge promotion for the city, and we welcome the thousands of visitors who stop by here. The Blowout is also a much needed economic shot in the arm for some of our bars, which count on this event and the Labor Day Festival to make it through the year.
The Metro Times has enjoyed a lot of goodwill from the city, so, yes, the community at large has a right to be concerned.
It doesn’t help that MT Publisher Chris Sexson was quoted in the Oakland Press about his reason to expand the music festival into Ferndale, saying there are some who don’t want to venture down here because it’s “out of their comfort zone.”
That quote has generated a lot of criticism.
Sexson told Hamtramck City Councilmembers that the reason for the expansion is that the magazine needs to tap into new revenue streams.
Considering the above quote, we have to wonder if the plan really is to leave Hamtramck behind.
The Metro Times can do what it wants, but we think Hamtramck offers a unique spice to the festival that cannot be duplicated in the suburbs – even “Funky Ferndale.”
What we take from all this is that bar owners, city leaders, The Metro Times and music lovers need to discuss the future of this festival. This year has shown that splitting the festival in half is not working for Hamtramck.