RFD, OTW, WTF, LOL! 18 Tickets = $9.00 = 1 Elephant Ear.

On The Waterfront, Rockford, IL Illinois’ Largest Street Festival {Based on combined shoe size & body weight.}

By Andrew Whorehall

Premise: In 1998, I saw Wilco play On The Waterfront to about 8 people, if that.  In 1999, I saw The Jayhawks’ great songwriter, Gary Louris, proclaim, Wow, we’ve never played to a bunch of chairs before.  Waterfront always provides lasting memories.  This year, a $9 Elephant Ear I didn’t buy did just that. Downtown businesses ‘have to’ abide by the rules set forth by the On the Waterfront, Inc. committee.  Meaning, prices on alcohol have to be consistent with festival prices.  Here’s the problem;  I wanted 1 Elephant Ear, it cost 18 tickets which is equal to $9.00.  I left downtown with a stomach fulfilled instead by The Octane, a regular downtown joint that served me a single meal for $9.  If you’re gonna place rules on downtown businesses (which is WRONG), place rules on the asshole elephant ear making vendors that are only down there 3 days a year.  This town is retarded, sure, but I’m not retarded enough to blow $9 on an elephant ear when I can get a decent meal for the same amount at Octane.  The math is alllllll wrong- on all fronts.  On The Waterfront, Rockford, IL, 2010.



The self-proclaimed ‘largest street festival’ also serves as a mass gathering of vendors with slight potential to gang rape specific individuals’ wallets and purses with bad, bad, bad, bad, bad math.  If you rely on respectable math to determine your moods, Waterfront is not the place to discover or maintain ‘happy’ unless you’re into adorable (cheap) hookers, concrete beds and 32 flavors of social diseases.  If you don’t care for numbers that weigh heavily against your personal and financial reality, you’ll love it!

Enough non-fiction, this piece is about the horrible facts discovered in a short amount of time at the Waterfront on a Saturday afternoon into sundown.

Last I checked, Rockford, as a city, it’s people, economically are not doing that well so you’d expect smaller ticket prices and less credible bands for what they do proudly advertise as Illinois’ Largest Street Festival.  I want to see the math equation that proves that tagline.  Is it based on territory?  Shoe size?  Judging by the bookings and confusing price packages for admissions, seems like this year’s committee hired a special mathematician to do the numbers.  They make ticket prices and 3-Day passes seem so confusing for no reason. No, I’m not going to be that guy that buys tickets to a street festival in Rockford, in advance- no, too complicated & unnecessary.  They’re not hooking me on that based on experience and a half-assed sales pitch;  have you seen the bands lineup?  I like to walk up to a gate, pay, get stamped, go in;  like in any other city, block party.  I don’t want a ticket unless you’ve booked Led Zeppelin with John Bonham, brought back Sam Cooke from the grave, or fine, I’d settle for Chicago’s own_______ but I’m not giving it away, you have to pay for marketable advice here.   The Waterfront committee seems to be lacking in the marketing research & booking department.



TIP: Just call them tickets or stop wasting $$$$ on printing cost for 4 color tickets with a die line and tear.  Charge less, stamp the hand, rubber band the wrist for drinkers- Jesus, it’s not that hard.  For this year’s LARGEST street festival In Illinois, I doubt the Waterfront Committee is doing that well either with math equations or common sense, cents, scents, sense.  Geddy Lee, Pavement, check please.


Bought 1 ticket for $15 dollars at the gate, for one day admission, for one person.

Billy Idol– headlined, rad.

Dierks Bentley– headlined, solid gold.

Adam Lambert– headlined, prophetic.

Hinder – headlined, game changers.

Weird Al– headlined, genius.

There ya go, the headliners for Illinois’ LARGEST street festival.
Three words xs5;  No, thanks.

Many other facts that are negative in a large looming manner;  as mentioned above, local downtown businesses having to match drink prices in accordance with Waterfront, Inc.’s committee rules (silly- and intrusive.)

Intrusive:  The cost of an elephant ear and the reality of math.  The cruelest fact of them all was this:

$9.00 for 1 Elephant Ear.  18 tickets, $9, the Oasis stage.

Comment: Who the f*ck do you think you are to charge $9 for an elephant ear?  Please answer below in the comments area of this post.  Tell us what math went into that decision to charge 18 tickets (each .50 cents) for a festival favorite of many people, including this guy.  I chose otherwise, sadly.  So did my cohorts. For the same amount you could drink 2 beers.  I’m a fan of logic and do what I can to surround myself with logical people.  Thanks for the reality check, Waterfront.  You see, again, respect true math;  it reveals all the answers you need for a good or bad time.  We still had a good time mocking the reality of that math, bad math.




Positives: My friends and I love drinking on other peoples business property downtown;  especially under the glowing gaze of a Bush Jr. Era’s favorite contracted, millitary, provider of procured supplies;  SupplyCore.   My favorite Rockford company- so much drama!!!  And here I am drining cold beer staring at the glowing green sign!   The Provenzano brothers redefine the term, family business.  If anything, I feel bad for the parents of what has become our own city’s version of Cain & Abel, dueling brothers.  A successful shame, what money can do and does to destroy a family- an awful f*cking shame.

Here’s to the Highlight:  Guzzardo’s Emerging Artist Showcase on the Oasis Stage had me thinking why they couldn’t have that featured right before a respectable headlining act- not Hinder, not Adam Lambert, not Dierks Bentley, not Billy Idol,  maybe Weird Al (I like Al);   again, I said, respectable.  My reasons for such are simple and supportive to the local music community that is rich in talent.  Seeing Xen / Darren Garvey / Crankupmadonna compete and support each other should be brought to the main stage, Waterfront committee.  Show off your local talent the way other cities, block parties, festivals do in regards to having a local act open for a headlining act.  Throw it all in the blender- give up on the path you’ve gone down on the past few years and start over.  Now’s the time for new blood.

There’s an entirely different demographic you’re missing- a large one that’s fed up with the Rockford way.  Start researching other festivals that are working quite well in dark, technological, word of mouth times;  Pitchfork Festival, St. Pat’s Block Party (both Chicago)- start there and then come to us- again, I’m not going to speak on behalf of the others but I’m stating it now, We’re not helping for free but we’ll help- this is isn’t Natural Helpers Camp.

I end on that, I am ashamed of my hometown again;  specifically the Waterfront committee, a pathetic offering of sorts that doesn’t live up to your advertised tagline:  Illinois’ Largest Street Festival.  To me you’re just another large Illinois math problem that has the wrong people doing the math.  Suggestion:  new blood & now.

aW  |  andywhorehall.com


RFD, OTW, WTF, LOL! 18 Tickets = $9.00 = 1 Elephant Ear.Andy Whorehall

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