I was preparing to post about the firing of Mike Shula from Alabama. I’m saving that one for tomorrow now, though it may just become a rehash of the Crimson Tide of fans upset with the way that the firing was handled. Instead I want to take a few moments to look at the buzz created out here in the world of blogging about this evening’s town hall meeting about sustaining City Stages; something we decided to mention here yesterday.
The questions and points brought up by Wade and others throughout the blogosphere are valid and need to be taken into account along with the numerous suggestions that are bound to be floating around out there, spoken and unspoken, for this festival. How do you make City Stages unique without making it seem to be like all of the other festivals in the area or the country? One thing to point out is that the fact that we even have a festival like this is unique as many cities are either mothballing the concept or they’re trying to revamp the festival to fit in to their changing demographic.
I decided to do a little digging on my own about the price quotes that Wade mentioned on his site this morning, more just because I needed something to do during my lunch break as well as the fact that I wanted to see how a true apples to apples comparison would look like. I decided to rely on a tried and true resource for my last job search that brought me to Birmingham, Salary.com. I decided to see what the cost of living translation of our $40 ticket would be out on the West Coast using their cost of living wizard. It’s been fairly accurate for me and figured it would allow for the argument to be made as apples to apples.
In citing the comparison that is mentioned on Wade’s site, there turns out to be a few things to remember; the festival in San Diego charges more money, even though they have more people. After doing the conversion, it would still cost less than ½ of what it does to go to the festival in San Diego based on City Stages’ original statement.
The $40 City Stages ticket would be $60.40 compared to $115 for San Diego’s Street Scene festival. Insofar as the argument goes, I have a strange feeling that they draw more people. Their patrons also pay more for the additional acts. I am a huge fan of the festival, but am completely realistic about its shortcomings. The real question is “Is Birmingham ready to admit that it must pay more and see what they get for it before it complains?” By the way, the cost of living is 51% more in San Diego than in Birmingham according to the website; salaries are only 10.3% more.
We already pay the lowest taxes in the country and we suffer mightily because of it. Many of the things that we think are necessary are lacking because of how we collect our taxes and how we choose to save and use them. Why do I bring that up? It does translate to our situation with this music festival. City Stages when it started was comparable and probably more enjoyable than it has been for many in recent years and the prices reflected the cost of brining in talent at that time. We currently do not feel the need to pay more in order to see more here in Birmingham, Alabama.
A better product presented by the organizers will end up leading to a higher ticket price. We have to be willing to live up to our end of the bargain and pay more if we are able to convince the festival to live up to theirs. Only if we’re able to get the other things changed.
Let me know what you think. Enjoy the day.