by Jeff Kirby
on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 9:03 AM
"My eyes... the goggles, they do nothing."
This was the third year Block Party set its mainstage up on Broadway, facing east down Pike. There have been several mainstage locations over the years, but this one seems to be the best location for penning in huge crowds. One problem with this stage placement, however - a problem we've rarely had to endure so far this summer before Block Party weekend - is the glaring sun right in your face during all of the evening performances. For sets by Handsome Furs on Saturday and Battles on Sunday, the sun was positioned just above the mainstage so that it blinded you almost completely when you looked forward, forcing to you have to try and block it away with the back of your hand or some other sort of sun shield in order to see what was happening on the mainstage, and even then it was hard to make out much at all.
This experience raised an interesting question within my group. Who should be responsible to bear the burden of sunshine? For the sake of this argument, assume the mainstage has to stay on one end of Pike St, facing either east or west. On one side of the debate: “The crowd has paid good money to see the bands perform, and, for several of those acts, everyone watching is being blinded and the experience is hindered. The musicians are the ones being paid to do a job; they should have to deal with the sun in their eyes instead of the thousands who paid to watch them. The burden of sunshine should lie on the bands.” On the other side: “People come to an outdoor festival to be in the sunshine. If you’re having trouble seeing the stage because of the sun, wear a hat, block it with your hand, or go see a Goth band inside Neumos. The musicians are being paid to perform, which they may do poorly if they are being blinded by the sun like I currently am. The burden of sunshine lies on the crowd.” So: