We had high hopes going into the FREST ART FIRST Summer Concert Series at Artpace. It was a beautiful evening indeed, and we looked forward to rooftop views of the downtown San Antonio skyline. Even from the street below, we could hear the fantastic soul grooves of DJs JJ Lopez and Chris Galvan, who represent a new era in the musical direction of KRTU-FM, as well as the local music community in general.
However, our anticipation wasn’t met with the reality of this event. It was readily apparent something was amiss when we discovered a line out into the street…complete with one or two line-cutters — hey, no event is cool without them! This became even more obvious as the elevator doors opened onto the rooftop and we discovered an overcrowded venue, with most people in attendance standing in a startlingly long line for a Blue Moon beer or a sample of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Gourmet hot dogs from Frankfurter Express? Long gone. Nothing left but condiments and bits of buns. It amazes me how long people will stand in line for a small sample of something.
So why were all these people here? It was all about seeing and being seen. Being cool. Defining yourself as a hipster. Definitely not about the art — the galleries were open, but ignored — nor was it about the music. The end of the rooftop deck where DJs Lopez and Galvan were spinning vinyl was virtually deserted. Which is unfortunate. It felt like there were two separate parties going on.
Judging from the size of this crowd, there is obviously strong demand for events like these. This is definitely an emerging scene. It’s certain that the folks at Artpace had a fundraising success, and let’s hope that it will help increase the awareness of KRTU 91.7. However, if this sort of crowd scene is what is to be expected, we likely won’t be returning for the rest of the series. This blog is about art and artists, not where to be “seen”…