Tag Archives: City Stages

Bye Bye City Stages, Good Bye

Editor’s Note: Scott Schablow is a music lover and a fan of City Stages. He was a volunteer for the first ten years of the music festival and attended City Stages for many years after that. He did not attend last year or this year due to what he describes as a lack of top tier and up-and-coming bands to stir his interest. He didn’t want to let City Stages slip away without saying goodbye. He decided what better way than a remake of an old classic American Pie. – ACN

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they
d be happy for a while.

But has-been acts made me shiver
With every song they’d deliver.
Bad news on the bank step;
They couldnt take one more step.

I cant remember if I cried
When I read about his fallen pride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

So bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
And them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
Singin, “thisll be the day that I die.
ll be the day that I die.”

Did you write the book of love,
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Do you believe in rock n roll,
Can music save your mortal soul,
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

Well, I know that youre in love with him
`cause I saw you dancin
at the park named Linn.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

I was a lonely teenage broncin buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died.

I started singin,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
Them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
And singin
, “thisll be the day that I die.
ll be the day that I die.”

Now for 20 years weve been on a loan
And moss grows fat on a rollin
But that
s not how it used to be.
When George sang out for the king of lien,
With a note he borrowed from the cash machine
And a tax that came from you and me,

Oh, and while king Larry was looking down,
Stages played his bankrupt town.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No audience has returned.
And while Council read a book of larks,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
Them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
And singin, “thisll be the day that I die.
ll be the day that I die.”

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
Stages flew off with a writeoff shelter,
Half a million bucks and growing fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With vendors on the sidelines in a cast.

Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune.
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance!
`cause the players tried to take the field;
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?

We started singing,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
Them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
And singin, “thisll be the day that I die.
ll be the day that I die.”

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no cash left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devils only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satans spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

He was singing,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
Them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
And singin, “thisll be the day that I die.
’ll be the day that I die.”

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the Stages door
Where Id heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn
t play.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And they were singing,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
And them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
Singin, “thisll be the day that I die.
ll be the day that I die.”

They were singing,
“bye-bye, City Stages good bye.
Drove my Hummer to the drummer,
But he didn’t reply.
Them good old boys were nursing their black-eye
Singin, “thisll be the day that I die.”

#bhamchat: Episode 1

Yesterday we introduced #bhamchat to Birmingham, AL. We tried to explain some of the principles in a post on the Newsstand and had 12 folks take part between 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. We’ll be adding a more detailed description to this section of the site later this week and plan to do it every Tuesday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. – with a recap by the following Thursday morning (unless we have to move it, which we’d let you know way in advance on the site’s front page).

Here’s an review of our first one with selected tweets:

We actually didn’t see this part of the news story until after the chat was finished, but it would be safe to say that City Stages has been a topic of discussion for several days, especially after last week’s last minute request to the Birmingham City Council. We wanted to see what folks thought about its future.

Topic 1: @CityStages – it’s on everyone’s mind; what do you see happening? How do you see it continuing?

  • @apollorockit City Stages is going the way of the buffalo. Or, more appropriately, the Music Midtown.
  • @DOGingham City Stages pres has NO incentive to grow the event. There is a paycheck regardless of event success.
  • @opusmagnum The high costs of the food and drinks @CityStages keeps me from going. If I go I want to be able to enjoy the food.
  • @Jerry_Griffies: @bhamterminal I see McMillan’s bank account decreasing and another “organizer” stepping in or CS is history.
  • @jbagby25 So excited that there is a #bhamchat. Would anyone really care if City Stages left? Why can’t it be smaller and interesting again?

Our second topic was suggested by one of our participants and took a look at the growing problem of pet overpopulation in the city.

Topic 2: via @DOGingham – the euth numbers keep rising. year after year. solution suggestions? http://bit.ly/H7FvM

While there weren’t many comments, it definitely raised the importance of the issue in metro Birmingham:

  • @DOGinghamFor those that dont know:dogs/cats..State 149K intake, 111K euthanized. Birmingham Metro 50K intake, 40K euthanized.

Our third topic was probably the most interesting one of the evening in terms of the conversation among participants:

Topic 3: Transit – Thursday’s ONB breakkfast will include info on new downtown bus circulator… thoughts on usefulness, etc.?

  • @ProgressiveEleci hope they don’t replace these bus drivers with the max drivers – if that’s as deep as we can get in transit ideas well . .
  • @deongordon The new buses would be a step in the right direction. But w/o a mass transit initiative (incl. light rail), it’s still lacking.
  • @jbagby25I don’t think you can do worse than the current bus situation. Any improvement is a step up.
  • @pascal_caputo@bhamterminal will be a bus rapid transit system plus neighborhood circulator. Good way to get more people interested in transit.

We’ve also learned about how those that will not be able to attend Thursday morning’s Operation New Birmingham Breakfast briefing can learn more about the proposed circulators.

As we continue to hold these, we hope that it will give you the chance to find new folks on Twitter to follow and also help to keep you aware of some of the issues currently affecting Birmingham. If you have an idea for a #bhamchat topic, drop us a line at info@bhamterminal.com.

FYI: If you feel the need to take a break from the @bhamterminal Twitter feed on Tuesday nights, you may want to take a look at Twittersnooze, but read the fine print first…

My modest proposal for City Stages

It’s amazing when you get a chance to look back at what you’ve written on a particular topic over time.

I decided that before I sat down to share my thoughts about City Stages that I’d look back at some earlier pieces both here and over on Dre’s Ramblings. I figured I’d share links to some of the more editorial pieces with you here – just in case:

City Stages is here… well? | My Birmingham, June 13, 2007

City Stages 2007 – some thoughts for the future | My Birmingham, June 18, 2007

Birmingham’s largest block party | My Birmingham, June 20, 2008

Some of the attendees' thoughts on City StagesLast year I said I was looking forward to this year’s festival, assuming that they would build on last year’s critical success with the launch of a social media-influenced marketing campaign.

Then I learned on Tuesday morning that the corporate ticket sales had been budgeted to be close to the same levels as last year (in the midst of an economic recession), leading to the last minute $250,000 request to the City of Birmingham. That, coupled with the virtual nonexistence of money in the Natta household, led me to decide that I will be working on projects and enjoying the air conditioning at Shift WorkSpace this weekend (and hopefully taking in some of the Secret Stages show at Speakeasy on Saturday evening) instead of making the trek down to Linn Park.

I believe George McMillan when he says that there are no more sacred cows in terms of the festival and that he is not sure of its future. How far will they go to secure a future is still to be determined.

The town hall meeting coordinated by Catalyst in November 2006 provided some good ideas for build upon for City Stages in the future, especially when you consider other festivals (even though this is old in terms of reference points).

I’d argue that people need to bring suggestions for real solutions to the table before completely bashing the festival and saying it needs to go. Here’s mine:

City Stages gets moved to the Railroad Reservation Park starting next year. There would be four stages – two at each end of the park. The Cultural Furnace that folks would like to see housed in the current Alabama Power steam plant could be integrated into the planning in later years, including an office for the organization to work out of year round. It would  allow CS to consider approaching Alagasco for the use of their parking lots in the surrounding area as festival space – most likely for things like video game competitions, smaller local stages and an arts and crafts section. You might even be able to scare a spoken word/comedy and jazz stage around out there too.

The festival would be contained in a 12-block area between 14th and 20th Streets, allowing for folks to access downtown Birmingham by car using local streets and taking advantage of a large, open space and a pretty cool view of the city center skyline. No, currently there may not be enough shade for a June festival, but there are no sacred cows anymore. You could even move it to the same weekend as the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in September and make it into a huge event for the region.

We need to actually see what happens once folks get used to this new City Stages and not make another major change just because we are panicking

Now it’s only an idea and of course there would still be issues logistically, but it’s an idea.

I’m not necessarily ready to see City Stages go away and I’d love to hear what some of your ideas are.

You can post them in the comments section below. I’m also willing to invite a few folks over to Shift on Monday evening to share your thoughts about this year’s festival and what it could be in the future. If you’re interested, send an email to info@bhamterminal.com or comment below and if enough folks are interested, we’ll announce a time for Monday night.

If you’re going, enjoy the weekend and the music!

André Natta is the managing editor of bhamterminal.com.

Birmingham's largest block party?

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There are always several ways to look at a situation, and there is no question that City Stages 20 will be second-guessed by every Monday morning events planning quarterback in the region for at least the next 2-3 months as we await the public release of the organization’s financials.

I’ll freely admit that I only attended the festival for about four hours on Saturday – time I desperately needed away from this computer to remind myself of what the real world might be like. I heard nothing but praise from folks I knew that had actually attended Friday night and danced along to Diana Ross, The Roots, Galactic and probably the biggest surprise of the evening to many, The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Later on I got to watch as Buddy Guy decided to come on down and play among the thousands that showed up to watch him after catching the end of the Hill Country Revue set.

I’ve come to think that perhaps the purpose of the festival needs to change, at least mentally. I’m not sure that one can say that it’s an event that represents the cultural heritage of metro Birmingham anymore (though getting Ross to play this year was a coup). I would say that it is a great collection of acts that many feel should be coming to our fair city anyway (and some of them do), available to us for a reasonable price.

I heard a television reporter call it Birmingham’s largest block party. That may be a better way to describe what it’s become.

It’s become an excuse for people to come together and hear great music; to see folks that you don’t run into as much anymore and catch up. In the near future it will also be an excuse for those that still think it’s not safe to come downtown to poke around between acts and see the progress that continues to take place.

I also think that it can claim that something that should be a major goal of the festival’s – exposing the City of Birmingham and the surrounding region to acts that you normally wouldn’t see or be exposed to (e.g., the Carolina Chocolate Drops).

It will never be Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo and honestly, I’m glad. If I want those types of events, I’ll find a way to go there instead. The thing is, no matter what you hear said positively about our festival, and on a larger scale this city, there will always be someone that says that you’re not being realistic or serious – that it’s bad and it will always stay that way, no matter what’s done.

I’d argue that it’s that attitude that needs to change, though some more interaction with those that could make City Stages more successful in the coming years would help. The conversations about the future of the festival have been held all over the place, including the blogosphere, forever. Harnessing it in one place, presumably a revamped version of their site, may give residents more perceived ownership of the festival, including enabling the festival to engage its fans in the selection process and allowing organizers to expose the fans to the music that will be coming. It could be a microcosm of what could be done to truly move the city forward as well, but It’s just one suggestion and it probably won’t be the last one either party hears.

That said, I am looking forward to next year, just to see what can happen…

André Natta is the managing editor of The Terminal.