Music on Water Street

Saturday, October 2, 2004

The leaner version of the City of Roses Music Festival that transpired last weekend in downtown Cape Girardeau was a success. The size of the crowd was difficult to gauge, but organizers estimate there were 1,500 people at the three outdoor stages at the peak of the festival Saturday night in addition to those listening to music in the downtown nightclubs at the same time.

This year, the festival returned to its beginnings as a showcase for local talent. No music was played from a barge moored on the Mississippi River. There was no headliner with a name made in the 1970s or 1980s. No wristbands were sold entitling the wearer to enter the festival. This time it was free. Buckets were available to make donations. Organizers estimate less than $1,000 was donated, but they did very well selling beer.

This approach to the festival accomplished one very good thing. It gave young musicians who play in garage bands an opportunity to play in front of people using top-of-the-line sound equipment. Now they know how they sound.

Volunteers erected three outdoor stages along Water Street. One was devoted to Americana and folk music, one to alternative rock and the third to heavy metal music. Anyone who likes rock 'n' roll could find something to like and probably something to hate.

Those who prefer hip-hop, jazz, classical or Christian music might as well have stayed home.

Festival co-directors Don Greenwood Dennis "Doc" Cain put together a well-organized event under a revised format. It worked. Now they have something to build on.

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