Aesthetic Assault in St. Pete

Maybe it’s cultural. Then again maybe it’s generational. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s a matter of right and wrong, and I’m right – however un-hip.

I’m talking about the recent noon-to-10 pm Sunset ’06 concert in Vinoy Park on downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront. It was billed as the Bay Area’s first electronic music festival, which as near as I could figure, means a gathering of lots of DJs and plenty of heavy-duty amplifiers.

I was privy to it not because I was one of the 5,000-10,000 in attendance, but because I was somewhere in St. Petersburg. The I-175 off-ramp for openers.

Think the imposition of the migraine bass from hell. Think those who forget the purpose of a microphone and need to constantly yell into it. Think Howard Dean in Iowa. On steroids. Think Vince Naimoli arguing a speeding ticket. Think the same beat and the same sound hour after hour. And, yes, it follows you out to sea. Sunset was never so aesthetically compromised.

I know that if I were staying at the Vinoy, I’d be looking for an apology and a refund. If I lived in a nearby condo, I’d make sure Mayor Baker got an earful.

So, memo to Mayor Pam: Sure, we wish we had St. Pete’s happening downtown scene. And we know you’re trying to fast forward downtown Tampa into a viable arts-business-entertainment-residential neighborhood. But if the opportunity to host an electronic music festival at, say, Curtis Hixon Park is ever proposed, please pass on it.

Even during the height of hurricane season.

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