This year’s Riverfest won’t be held until July 11th. Kind of anticlimactic, dontcha think? They’ve made it up to us, though, by having Asia headline the event.
Yes, that Asia.
The Asia website does not list the Riverfest performance; it is not unusual for bands to omit free shows, but this is wedged between two West Coast performances. Seems like one long flight to make for something like this.
What is going on this year? Other than the guided tours of the Sculpture Walk (from 4-8pm), it does not sound very spectacular. There will be no food or other activities down at Charter Oak Landing, though it will be open for viewing fireworks; the fireworks show is at 9:30pm.
Why is Riverfest so late this year? The website glosses over things a bit with their answer:
We’re getting that question a lot this year – but the reality is that Riverfest has not been held on the Fourth of July holiday in at least 20 years. The last time we held the festival on the holiday, by the way, we drew a much smaller crowd – maybe because people plan their own gatherings of families and friends for barbecues and picnics or go away for a three-day weekend. Equally important, though, the cost of producing the festival is significantly higher on the holiday. That’s an important consideration for the City of Hartford and the Town of East Hartford, which donate the services of their public safety personnel and other municipal employees – making it possible for us to produce such a big free event on both banks of the river. And we believe that we should celebrate America’s independence and freedom every day of the year, not just on July 4.
What I had heard elsewhere was more direct: the amount that the police would have to be paid to work on a holiday that fell on a Saturday was going to be outrageous. Rather than do what Middletown is doing, by holding fireworks on July 2nd, they’ve opted to move it by seven days.
The closing of Charter Oak Landing to everything but fireworks viewing is explained:
When we planned Riverfest last winter, we thought that the City of Hartford might be well underway in July with extensive repairs to the flood walls – which would have limited access to the park and created potential safety problems. So we budgeted for the festival without planning for an entertainment stage or other activity at Charter Oak Landing. That repair work is still in the planning stage and may not get underway until winter or later.
A decision made in the heat of the moment could have been corrected. Instead, there’ll be nothing happening there up until the fireworks.
There is typically a heavy military recruitment/presence on the East Hartford side during Riverfest; they especially attempt to appeal to children, so those objecting to such messages may wish to avoid certain areas.
Here’s a preview: