Speakout

June 04, 2006

THE ISSUE: -- The mammoth, 60-band HFStival rock concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion was promoted as one of the biggest entertainment events at the outdoor venue in decades - maybe ever. It required organizers to expand the usual space into Symphony Woods to accommodate the tens of thousands of patrons. The commotion has died down, and we have heard some perspectives on how well downtown Columbia fared as host to such a high-profile event. How (if at all) did the HFStival affect your life in terms of traffic, noise and general energy levels in Town Center?

Good planning laid our fears to rest

As residents of Town Center since 1977, we were a bit apprehensive regarding noise and traffic levels.

In fact, with planning, coordination and probably sufficient staff, the festival appeared to be a joy to all, with no downside for residents.

Driving along the adjacent roads was easy, and, surprisingly, the only sounds in the night were the crickets. In fact, other groups have seemed louder. Woodstock was never that civilized. Thanks to the managers at Merriweather!

Susan Kleinberg Columbia

Merriweather was shamefully dirty

The HFStival was great, with a large variety of acts. I especially liked the street and local stage that provided much more feeling and connection with the artist.

Merriweather should be ashamed of the facilities - they were filthy and not kept up. This isn't Woodstock. People paid a premium price for lawn seats and the trash they let lay around and the condition of the restrooms was deplorable. For $60 lawn seats, you pay enough for them to pump the outhouses and keep the restrooms in bare minimum working order.

The traffic was handled well, parking was fine and I don't believe it disrupted the surrounding areas at all. But I have given my last dime to Merriweather if this is how they handle large events.

Kevin Hiden Fulton

Two grueling days and nights of noise

The experience was similar to pulling up at a traffic light next to an inconsiderate driver with stereo cranked. The only difference was the mayhem lasted two grueling days and nights instead of five minutes.

For those living close to Merriweather, there was no reprieve from the blaring. One can only hope that Columbia will be HFStival-free next Memorial Day weekend.

Lyn Morgan Columbia

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