Monday, August 8, 2011

Fun Fourth Make-Over

Next year is going to be a year of changes for the Fun Fourth. We've been putting on this festival in some shape or form for over 30 years, and recently we've been thinking of ways we can give it a bit of a face lift. Although she looks good for being 36 years old, we've found that Fun Fourth might not be as cool and hip as she once was. So we are looking to you, our loyal followers for suggestions. After all, the Fun Fourth Festival is, more than anything, a service provided to the citizens of Greensboro for you to enjoy!

It seems, based on our discussions with various volunteers, participants, and employees, that our biggest area for improvement is the kick-off block party. For one reason or another, it doesn't appear to be as popular as it used to be. So why is that? We need to know. Here are a few topics that we have been discussing that we'd love for you to consider.

1. What if the block party was held at a different time of year? The block party is mainly a fundraiser for the Fun Fourth, so it does not necessarily have to be held the night before the Festival as it has been in years past. If we were to hold a similar party in the spring in order to raise funds for the festival, would you be more likely to come? Do you usually go out of town for the Fourth, so you can't make it to the block party? Is it too hot for you that time of year? We want to know any and all date related conflicts that you have with the block party, so we can consider the option of holding it on a different date next year. OR, if you absolutely love it when it is, and wouldn't be able to make it any other time of year, we need to know that too. All points of view are being considered in this process.

2. What if the block party had a different theme? Typically, the music at the block party is very rock oriented. But what if we made the night themed around country music, or beach music? Would you be more likely to come if the genre was more your taste? If so, what type if music would you want to hear?

3. What if the entrance fee was a different price? This has been the most, for the lack of a better word, controversial, topic surrounding this make-over. First, keep these things in mind. The block party is a fundraiser. It might be a little more pricey than going to a bar or some of the free concerts in the area, but its goal is to make money so we can provide all the fun and exciting elements of the festival. Also, it costs money to throw the block party itself. So if you want awesome bands you are going to have to shell out a little cash to help us pay for them. Therefore, the concert is never going to be free or $1 or anything like that unless we jack the prices of beer way up. That being said, I noticed a lot of people turning away at the gate as soon as they heard it was going to cost $10. In this economy, we recognize that the price may be a little steep, so help us come up with a fair way to work this out. What is the max amount of money you would pay to come to the block party? If we still charged $10, but gave you a ticket for a free beer, would you come? If we lowered the price to $5, but then raised the price of beer, how would you feel about that? Or if there is any other combination of give and take you can think of that would make the party more appealing price wise, let us know!

4. What if the band was your favorite band ever? Something we have noticed about all this outdoor concert stuff is that people will go anywhere to see a band they like for free. But if you get that same band and start charging an entrance fee, people suddenly aren't interested. So, this kind of goes hand in hand with topic number three. Obviously we are never going to be able to afford Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Katy Perry, or any other Top 40 artist. So locally - meaning the Southeast region of the country - is there a band that you would pay top dollar to see if we could get them? This question is really important, because it seems that every time we really think we have a crowd pleaser, we don't, which means that we don't really know what it is that you guys want to listen to. So it can be any band in any genre that performs relatively family friendly music that you know isn't going to cost us a million bucks to get. Hopefully with your help we can figure out who it is exactly that people will pay $10 to see.

5. What if the block party wasn't a block party? The last option we have really considered is that maybe people are sort of burned out on the outdoor concert type party. As more and more of these types of events come up, ours seems less and less unique and exciting. So maybe you think, "Why would I go to that, I can do that any time." The question then is, if you aren't into the block party concept, what would you want to do? Suggestions that have been made thus far are a second chance prom, a new year's eve party, a disco, etc. So if the basic things stayed the same ($10 at the door, beer, wine and food for sale inside) what kind of activity would you want it to be? Dance party? Costume party? Karaoke night? It can be most anywhere or anything as long as it is something you would really, really like to do. This likely won't be an immediate change...we will probably let the block party run its course for a few more years and see if any of your other ideas help us get more people to come. But in the mean time we really need an idea for something else that we can have ready if and when we decide to change the block party completely.

Thanks for taking the time to think about how we can improve the festival for you. I am really excited to see what kind of ideas you come up with! You can leave a comment here or email me at

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