July 7, 2014

Muzzy bash offers a hit, but not a home run

The 100th birthday celebration for Muzzy Field didn’t draw anywhere near the 20,000 or more that organizers hoped for.
Friday’s rain didn’t help, not only because dampened that day’s crowd but also because it caused so many people to postpone gatherings to Saturday, with its glorious weather.
The rain also forced many nearby fireworks shows to wait until Saturday instead of lighting up the sky on the 4th. That meant many people who might have come to see the fireworks in Bristol went somewhere else instead.
Still, there’s no denying that Saturday’s attendees fell well short of the plans. I tried to get a count, but it wasn’t really possible. I eventually settled on “thousands” of people partaking, but it was a lot closer to 1,000 than 20,000.
Why so few?
Well, making people pay to see the concert kept a lot of folks away, even though they could have easily listened from just outside Muzzy and even watched it from some vantage points beyond the fences. I’m sure if more people knew Saturday that the cheapest tickets were only $10 that day, more would have been sold. But it was too late to reach many potential buyers of heavily discounted tickets by then.
Having it all happen on a holiday weekend must have hurt as well. I could see from my Facebook feeds that lots of Bristol residents were at the shore, lying in the sand in Rhode Island or fighting the traffic on the Bourne Bridge. That’s reality any summer weekend, of course, but there are likely a lot more who are gone over the three-day weekend.
I heard a lot of people say that it would have been better if the city just did everything itself instead of teaming up with Reach Foundation, a Farmington-based charity that almost certainly lost a fair amount of money on the whole thing. I’m not convinced, though, because there was a limit to what a tiny park department can do no matter how many step up to lend a hand.
Whatever the problems, though, those who came mostly had a good time. The concerts rocked. The Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble was in top form. The fireworks were great.
I heard a lot about the new Bristol logo as well. People seemed to like the red heart-shaped B baseball caps – despite seeing a connection with the Red Sox in them that isn’t really there. They look pretty sharp, by all accounts.
All in all, the festival proved a success. It didn’t draw enough people to be a rousing one. But for those who came, for the most part anyway, Muzzy Field provided a good time and some good memories.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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