Monday, October 11, 2010

The Future Of Spotlight

The stage is down. The vendors tents are gone. The hospitality tents are being emptied. The eyes of the world are being focused elsewhere. The homeless are back in Phoenix Park and all is right with the world of Lexington, again.

We had a really exciting run of a Spotlight Festival with people downtown, milling about at all hours during the day - and night. There was a vibe in the crowd that you just don't feel during the usual Thursday Night Live performances. I don't believe that our out-of-town guests brought it with them because they were commenting on it too. This vibe came from us, the local folks, some of which have not been downtown for anything in years - except maybe a ball game.

The local restaurant and bar scene felt the vibe and went with the flow. The ones that I spoke with were extremely happy with the foot traffic and the sidewalk seating, all brought on by some marvelous weather.

One of the first comments that I heard on the street was "This is what a real city is like." and then, as the festival went on, many more along the lines of "We should do this more often." I agree, we should do this more often - starting next year. A commenter on the Herald-Leader web site complained that those considering a yearly continuation should NOT involve the "same old people" and allow those who "really know how do it" to have control. My response to that is - Where have they been and why haven't they done something before now, if they know how to do it?

This festival took a focal event to get some city leaders moving toward this and that won't be here next year. This festival utilized a space which may not be available in the future. And, this festival welcomed many from out of town whom we hope will come back, yet probably not just for a festival of our downtown. This festival needs to be a springboard to greater things, but we NEED to determine just where that is. What local event could we tie into to make this evolving festival unique to Lexington?

We now have a committee charged with the task of charting any future of the Spotlight (boy would I love to help on that) and there is a lot of work to do. There are so many questions to be answered in the coming months but I think that those who participated in and attended the Spotlight Festival have answered the first and most basic one, "do we want this?"

This answer is a resounding YES.


Alison said...

Yes, we want this, but why do we have to tie it in to an event? Why can't we just have a Spotlight Lexington week or weekend every September?

I love going downtown, so the Spotlight Festival didn't change my opinion of the area itself. It was just great to see so many people out and about and enjoying themselves.

Streetsweeper said...

Alison, there are those of us who spend a lot of time downtown, who know, understand and thrive in the downtown spirit. Then there are those who barely know where downtown starts or ends, much less what it is like to be there. Thursday Night Live has been a start and Spotlight Lexington has been a continuation but there needs to be more. Neither has been enough to do it alone so there has to be a focal point which can appeal to a wider audience and yet not break the bank.

It is a tall order for this committee but I believe that Lexington can do it.