Wednesday, April 22, 2020

4.22.20 Bee-otch of the Day: National Cherry Festival

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Name: National Cherry Festival
Age: 95
Occupation: tourist trap
Last Seen: Traverse City, MI
Bee-otched For: karma                                                               


Thanks to a little tiny bug, people won't be driving hundreds of miles and wasting gas just to eat cherries.

They won't be participating in cherry pie eating contests, watching several parades or clogging up Munson Avenue to watch one of the biggest wastes of military funding fly over Grand Traverse Bay. And they won't be watching shitty butt rock concerts, either.

For the first time ever, the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City has been canceled thanks to coronavirus fears. And personally, I couldn't be happier.

I know, the Cherry Fest was probably the biggest economic boon for the area. It was $25 million in the pockets of hotel owners, restaurateurs and t-shirt shop runners. But this July, if COVID-19 is still around, Traverse City will be a ghost town.

But 'cha know? Traverse City needs to cheer up.

Look at the Blue Angels. For years, they've come to Traverse City, usually every other year. They were even mocked on an episode of The Simpsons when they were introduced as "America's Favorite Waste of Taxpayer Dollars". What's tragic is that we live in a country where people can't afford basic healthcare, can't pay off their debts and are stuck working shit wages. Yet, the government is proud to send these painfully loud jets to Traverse City. I've talked to people who know recent veterans of the fake wars Dubya started. When the Blue Angels come to TC, their PTSD flares up and they have panic attacks and other effects of their disorder. Simply put, the Blue Angels are nothing more than a flying advertisement for our country's bloated military.

And yes, I just gotta talk about concerts, too.

You see, northern Michigan used to have some kickass places for concerts. There was the Glacier Dome in the 1970s, Castle Farms from the 70s to 1994 and Streeters, which closed in 2018. Of course, the Glacier Dome was long gone when I was a kid and I was a wee bit too young to go to Castle Farms. When I turned 13 in 1994, Castle Farms' longtime owner, Art Reibel made a deal to sell Castle Farms to a 4H group. Throughout much of my teenage years, I only went to a handful of concerts because of the lack of facilities in northern Michigan. The good news was that the Cherry Festival picked up the slack by bringing in bands like The Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind, Eve 6 and Collective Soul. The bad news? It simply didn't last long.

You see, the Cherry Festival had two stages for concerts: free concerts were at the Open Space while the concerts that had an entrance fee were at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds. However, people who lived around the Fairgrounds all complained about noise and even profanity from the rock concerts. So, the Cherry Festival kissed their collective asses and toned it down for a few years by only allowing country and pop acts to play. Well, it was a bad idea. Sheryl Crow canceled and so did Don Henley. As a matter of fact, I think they only had two acts play their final year at the Fairgrounds: some shitty country act and Christina Aguilera. After that, they moved all concerts to the Open Space and an admission fee was added there.

Thankfully, Streeters started having rock concerts in the 2000s to prove that Traverse City could support good, live rock 'n roll. Of course by then, I had moved to Grand Rapids where I saw many concerts at BOTH Intersections, Van Andel Arena and the now-defunct Orbit Room. Streeters had a good run and even The Cherry Festival started having decent bands again with Pop Evil, Shinedown, Greta Van Fleet and Three Days Grace stopping by. As I've mentioned, Streeters closed in 2018 when owner Doug Street sold it to a church. Once again, the Cherry Capitol has become a shithole when it comes to concerts.

And because of this, the Cherry Festival knows that they've become a monopoly when it comes to bringing big-name concerts up north.

Now, when a business becomes a monopoly - especially when they're the only thing going for miles - they have a right to suck. It's like driving down a rural freeway severely hungry and you can't find a good restaurant. Lo-and-behold, you find one. You order something and it's loaded with mold. You complain and the manager shows up, screaming at you. You walk out, except that the manager is now pointing a gun at your head, screaming "you ate it, you bought it". You pay the guy, you go to the cops to try to get the asshole charged for attempted murder, but then you find out that the police chief is a good friend of the owner of that deranged restaurant. They laugh you out of the police station and you go home knowing the hard way that you're better off just avoiding that place the next time you travel.

Now, the Cherry Festival is like that when it comes to rock concerts. Don't like what have to offer? Tough shit.

Now, this year's modern rock offering was going to be two 1990s rockers: Collective Soul - who have been at the Cherry Fest several times before - and opening act Everclear. Granted, Everclear's lead singer, Art Alexakis - who is a hardcore lefty - has Multiple Sclerosis and coronavirus is probably a bad thing for his immune system. The Festival's other big announced concert was going to be 1980s butt rockers REO Speedwagon.

Granted, this year's Cherry Fest modern rock offerings were tolerable and I would have paid to see Collective Soul again. But sadly, this year's cancellation is pure karma regarding last year's big modern rock offering.

And that, my fellow readers, is none other than Trapt.

Yes, Trapt, the 2000s has-been rockers best-known for "Headstrong" and "Still Frame". Their lead singer has been using the power of social media to show the world that he's an asshole. Chris Brown - no, not the retard who beat up Rihanna - has been using their Twitter page to kiss Drumpf's ass. Not only that, but he's also using the page to wage losing Twitter wars with other bands and even posting the ever-so-offensive "rich Jews shouldn't make trap music".

As somebody who has been to a few electronic music festivals over the past few years, I can easily tell you that they have a better vibe than a Trapt concert. There's more people and definitely more chicks! But sadly, it also speaks volumes about the state of current rock music. Apparently, people have been posting pics of recent Trapt concerts and, well, there were definitely more people at Breakaway last year.

I know, getting good bands to play an otherwise sparsely-populated area is hard and not that profitable. But, let's face it: when I was young, my cousins lived in Grand Rapids and Detroit while I was stuck up north. In the 1990s, there wasn't much for a teen to do up north year round, except maybe go to the mall. My cousins got to go to a TON of concerts and got to listen to Stern every morning and kick ass rock all day. Me? In the 1990s, TC was lucky to get one(!!) good concert per year and we were stuck with a shitty butt rock station that's sadly still in business.

So, if the Cherry Festival organizers are depressed, well, that's their damn problem. Hopefully, COVID-19 will go away and we'll live our lives. I agree that 2020 is not a good year so far, and part of it's because of Chris Brown's hero, Drumpf. Then again, the asshole who started the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover came to the Cherry Festival 90 years ago.

Be thankful, Traverse City. Your town won't stink during the Fourth of July week because it won't be loaded with assholes.


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