So the Montage Festival folks won at City Council this morning over the Bricktown Association when it comes to closing Mickey Mantle Drive for an entire weekend this summer for a for-profit art festival.
The vote was divided, 6-2, and the Bricktown merchants and property owners made it clear they are not happy with the Montage company closing down a main arterial street for so long.The Bricktown Association indicated today they were willing to go with several different compromises. The Montage company did not at any point in the conversation indicate they were willing to budge from their demand the street be closed all weekend.This having been said, how will this bad blood impact the festival and those who choose to be a part of it? The Bricktown Association could launch its own arts festival that same weekend on the plaza of Mickey Mantle Drive and the ballpark – allowing vendors to set up their tents for free, and thus diluting the business model for Montage. Or they could set up a music festival on the ballpark plaza or Mickey Mantle Plaza or even on the adjoining private property. Or they could simply set their lawn sprinklers on full blast, and if it sprays onto the street where the artists’ booths are, well, it’s summer and the grass does need water.
The Bricktown Association could go a different direction by reviving its Taste of Bricktown to be held in the ballpark plaza at the same time as the art festival and assisting the organizers in keeping the booths open later in the evening – thus making this an event that truly benefits everybody concerned.
In talking with one veteran observer of the entertainment district, one is reminded that any of these responses wouldn’t be shocking. And in Bricktown anything is possible.