My brother and I were excited to head down to Musikfest for its opening night. Just a few observations for anyone heading to the festival between now and its close on August 14...
1) We were surprised by how light the crowds were when we arrived around 7 pm. Compared to previous Friday nights with similar weather in past years, we thought it wasn't bad at all. We often gauge how busy it will be by how close we can park, which was better than we usually do on a Friday night. Of course, that changed later in the night.
2) We were even more surprised by how empty it was on the South Side. This is the first year for events south of the river and we couldn't believe how thin the crowds were. When we got back to the North Side closer to 9 pm, it was packed. We didn't take the shuttle and also didn't notice long lines for it. The walk from Plaza Tropical to the Sands Steel Stage (via the New Street/Fahy Bridge) took us about 20 minutes.
3) The new main stage area at Sands Steel Stage looks cool. We have tickets for the show tomorrow night so we'll get to see it from the inside rather than through the mesh fencing.
4) A new bottled cocktail this year: Jack Daniels and Coke, both regular and diet. Two thumbs up!
5) I think this year's mugs are ugly, but I hate orange. My brother bought his first one and said he likes it.
6) Pay with cash for tickets if you can or go at an off-peak time. The lines for credit card sales were long and moved slowly. They don't offer credit card payment at every ticket booth. The booth I used that did have it only had one machine.
7) Insider parking tip: The National Guard Armory on 2nd Avenue between Spring and Prospect is open for parking, $5 a car. The money goes to a good cause: the local National Guard unit. The lot is inexpensive compared to some of the other pay-for lots and it's also very close to Plaza Tropical and Festplatz. We loved parking there a few years ago and then last year, they had the lot locked off and weren't selling spaces. Glad to see they're back this year!
Happy festing, everyone!