Sunday, June 15, 2008

The scene at Summer Pops

I went to my first Summer Pops at SouthPark concert on Sunday and I'm hooked.


It was refreshing to see such a mix of people: dads (Happy Father's Day!) and their college-aged daughters playing cards, young families with bouncing babies, girlfriends sharing a bottle of wine and couples dancing barefoot in the grass.

One couple even set up their own table for two on the lawn, complete with candlelight, tablecloth and pitcher of sangria.

Charlotte Symphony conductor Albert-George Schram's enthusiasm is contagious and the highlight of the night was when he convinced most of the audience (packed in like sardines on the lawn) to stand up and dance the macarena along with him.

It's a great (free!) way to spend a Sunday evening.

Next week's theme is Broadway, with show tunes from such classics as Les Miserables, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady and Phantom of the Opera.

The series ends July 3 with a fireworks celebration.

28 comments:

Dot Baumgardiner said...

This would be a great event - If all the obnoxious Range Rover driving soccer mom-esque families that live close by weren't allowed to come the night the before the event and "claim" their prime spot.

It's horribly unfair to those of us who don't live in the immediate area - by the time we get there you have to sit in the parking lot.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the previous post. The last time my family and I attended we ended up on the lawn area below Village Tavern...a great spot or so we thought. About halfway through the symphony's performance the water sprinkler system comes on and soaks about 50 people. You think they would be nice enough to post a sign or turn it off for the evening.

Anonymous said...

Correction to Dot Baumgardiner - you are not allowed to claim your spot the night before the event. You are, however, allowed to claim your spot the morning of the event. I agree that it is unfair to those who do not live in the immediate area, but life is not fair - stop your whining (or claim your spot before you go to church). This is a great event, appreciate it and enjoy it for what it is and stop being bitter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster. People who live close to the area pay a premium to live there...why shouldn't they be allowed to claim a better spot? I live about 15 minutes from Southpark, I arrived at 7:30pm, and no surprise to me, found a place to setup where I couldn't even see the orchestra. But you know what, I could still hear them and I had a fabulous time!!! Live is what you make of it...there's something to be said for positivity :)

Anonymous said...

I attended the Summer Pops last year, and as an out-of-towner, was taken aback by the obnoxious, arrogant, and rude patrons. One group "shusshed" me very loudly when I sneezed and a lady in the group had the audacity to tell me (in a voice far louder than my sneeze) that if I couldn't be more quiet then I should just leave. Well, I did leave and haven't been back!

Karl Hallanthal said...

In any case - people shouldnt be allowed to claim any spot until 1 hour before showtime - but then of course, I'm sure that wouldn't suit the Carringtons, their precious brats "Hunter" & "Madison" none of whom are there to listen to the symphony, but really just gossip with their neighbors and talk about which Queens Road Retirement Home theyre putting their parents in, the sales at Pottery Barn and really just demonstrate to the world how garishly materialistic our culture has become. Minorities are practically discouraged from attending.

Anonymous said...

I in fact went by around 2 Sunday afternoon, and thought that Summer Pops had been nice enough to "lay out" blankets for people who show up! I say, you want a spot, clain it with YOUR BODY. Just like the old days at concerts, you want a good seat, be there first. I in fact live in Southpark, but, knowing that people can "reserve" spots the morning of with a blanket makes me wanna go "mark" them all. I won't be attending if its not come early to get a good seat. just Arrogant is what it is

Anonymous said...

As long as the Carringtons don't moon you though....

Etta Mae Morris-McCaig said...

What began as a lovely summer outingyears ago has turned into a malevolent, profanity-filled war zone. Me and my neighbor Hattie Stikeleather had laid out our gingham blanket one Sunday morning only to come back that evening shortly before showtime and quickly realized it had been moved over 2 rows and a particularly bourgeois family of 5 and some of their tacky friends had appropriated my spot! Imagine the nerve, just for a second - and to think Hattie's late husband , Alvis, was a war veteran, who fought in wars overseas , so jerks like these could live free.

When I confronted the man, (his name was Ted and he was wearing red shorts and an Atlanta Braves hat) claimed he "didn't know what I was talking about" and that I was "paranoid" and seemed "confused about how things work around here" and "didn't like my tone".

My neighbor Hattie (who is a widow and 77) got very upset and began to cry, at which point Ted and his overweight wife (who was clearly drunk and holding an enormous tumbler full of White Zinfandel while eating pimento cheese straight out of the container) began to laugh at us and called us "old bags".

Even their children got in on the harassment accusing us of stealing the youngest child's "Thomas The Tank Trains".

When I protested and finally got Hattie calmed down enough to go look for the manager - I finally found an off duty police officer, but before we could confront Ted, he had to break up a fight between some youngsters with metal rings in their lips wearing long black tee shirts that said "KORN" on them.

By this point Hattie and I decided to leave, as our once glorious outing had been ruined by drunk suburban acolytes and teenage drug dealers.

Now we go to the Metrolina Expo at least once a month, on the hunt for additions to my tresured antique doorknob collection. We will never go back to the southpark summer pops!!

Sincerly -

Etta Mae Morris-McCaig

Anonymous said...

Typical Charlotte..... Why is it that Charlotte does not have something equivalent to Summer Pops with a Smooth Jazz feel like ATL,DC,Miami...Honestly there is a need for a Smooth Jazz Venue in CLT that would bring out a more diverse crowd that the Summer Pops... I must say the crowd did not look that diversfied.

Anonymous said...

people please, if you want to go and listen to the concert you're just going to have to go and get a spot early in the morning. Actually we find it part of the "tradition" of going. I don't live in Southpark and have NO problem getting up early and putting a tarp or blanket down.

As for diversity, it was pretty diverse where we were sitting, African American couple was next to us, a latin group of people were next to us and we were all a bunch of guys (figure it out if you need to) The only thing I didn't enjoy is it ended earlier in the evening that it has in the past but heck, it's free and a great venue.

I do agree though, we could have a nice Jazz venue. That stage sits empty most of the year and that would bring business to the mall and surrounding businesses

Anonymous said...

I don't think it has anything at all to do w/ "paying a premium" to live in the S.Park area (that was an obnoxious comment, IMHO); it's just the way things are, not a god-/bank-/old family money-given right.

Unfortunately, it is what it is and you can deal with it as you have been or change your plans and come out at 8:00 a.m. and put your blanket down early, something that we opt not to do - and we live in the area.
One advantage of not being down front is that you can get to the rest rooms more easily w/o crawling all over folks. We have friends w/ small children and elect to sit across the street from Village Tavern so the kids can play in the street w/ chalk and what not. We figure it's less intrusive to those who are actually there for the music. It's a great scene and I've seen quite a few "non-white" people there over the years.

It is a social scene to be sure, and after a while, that conductor gets on my nerves, so I'm glad to not have to hear him so clearly! The music is always quite nice.


For the snobs who think a front row seat is a "right", then you should be aware that, as with any "free" outdoor event, you take your (for lack of better word) "risks" and must learn to put up with those that talk, sneeze, belch, pass gas or whatever noise may eminate from their body.
If you're really going to the symphony to "HEAR" it, then pay $ and go see it in Blumenthal (or wherever they play).

Now, if they'll only vary their musical line up from year to year...it seems they play the same stuff year after year after year...

Anonymous said...

Dot Baumgardiner, atleast the Range Rover moms have good taste. Now get in your crummy minivan and whine all the way back home.

Douglas said...

I'm glad the crowd is not diverse. To answer the above: perhaps Charlotte does not want to resemble Atlanta or DC? Did you consider that?

Diversity fanatics never mention troublesome things like "standards" or social problems, just their agenda. You know, adding bluegrass, Italian opera, and Norwegian folk music would make it more diverse but I'll bet you didn't really have that kind of diversity in mind, now did you?

Anonymous said...

A diverse crowd in SouthPark?

If you want a less "obnoxious" experience, go to one of the Symphony's free concerts that are done elsewhere in the region. In addition to the ones at SouthPark, they are doing free concerts in Pineville, Matthews, Lake Norman, Dallas, Cornelius, and Kannapolis.

Also keep in mind that the Symphony is only the tenant and has no control over when people lay down blankets or the sprinkler system.

Steve Reynolds said...

Your blanket doesn't mean anything to me. I move them or throw them away. I live in Southpark and I don't care if your cheap blanket is sitting on the grass and you're at church. If you are not there, I move it. Please come and try and move me. I will let your house poor self know where to shove it. I don't care what you think or who you think you are.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right....Downtown Charlotte is not geared toward African Americans. If Charlotte wants to be a World Class City, there has to be more variety, which Charlotte lacks.

Anonymous said...

While visiting friends in Charlotte last year, we went to the South Park outdoor concert and were completely baffled by way many of the people came. They were all talking to each other or on their cell phones and completely ruining the event for the true music lovers. I would never take the time and energy to attend the event again!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster. I have frequently showed up and moved blankets, or, being a resident from right down the street, let my dog run around there and relieve himself wherever he needs to (your blanket,sorry, whatcha gonna do bout it?).

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is hilarious. "Horribly unfair to those that dont live in the area". Yes, it is such a travesty. One of the most horrible things ever. People perish from this on a daily basis. I feel so bad for you.

Anonymous said...

There is 1 venue for jazz and that is the House of Jazz....Charlotte needs to have more than 1 venue for jazz entertainment. It would be nice to have a choice to go to hear smooth jazz besides the Sirius Music Channel on Dish Network/Direct TV. Charlotte could be the next breeding ground for cutting edge nightlife... People just need to think outside the box.

Anonymous said...

Being a native, I tell people that Charlotte is "coming" but it has not "arrived" Matched against Atlanta/DC/Philly, Culturally, the perks of those cities are hard to match. Historical sites abound the areas such as museums and exhibits. Most of these cities house four professional sports teams, hundreds of entertainment venues and restaurants, museums, theaters, concert halls and nightclubs for every taste from jazz to hip-hop to reggae. Can Charlotte really compete with that?

Anonymous said...

I for one attend these concerts for the music and wish that those who don’t would take their conversation elsewhere. The problem with the Pops is not one of claiming a spot on the lawn but of disregard for the efforts of the musicians of our Charlotte Symphony and those in the audience who are there to appreciate a CONCERT. Perhaps it’s time for the CSO to do away with the “free” concert and those silly donation buckets. I would gladly pay $10 to attend if it brought some civility to the crowd. Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

To the last poster...beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past failings. Recognize that.

Anonymous said...

Grown adults insulting each other, pointing fingers, whining, and complaining as if they have nothing better to do. I am just so darn proud of Charlotte right now that I can't stand it! PS...how about you focus some of that energy on important matters affecting our city?

Anonymous said...

Hey People...if you don't like the Pops in SouthPark, DON'T GO! The reason it is hard to find a spot is because it is popular!

Yes, I go early and lay out my blanket...shame on me for wanting a good spot.

If you go to "appreciate" the music, why don't you just buck up and go to one of thier pay concerts and leave the free ones to families wanting to enjoy an evening with friends?

The point of it being located in the park is so everyone, including kids, can come to event.

Anonymous said...

Dot, I live in Union County and I drive to South Park each Sunday morning to put my blanket out at 8 a.m. The rules are, you can't put blankets out the night before, they can't go down before 8 a.m. and us die hard fans that are there each Sunday and have been for years, are glad to go early and "claim" a prize spot as you put it.
P.S. I drive a worn-out '95 car, don't have kids and drive in from the sticks.

Anonymous said...

The obvious cause of most people's problems with these concerts: The venue is a mall parking lot with a small grassy area adjacent to a drainage pond! I've seen better facilities in the former Soviet Union. How about matching the venue to the expected size of the audience? An actual park maybe?