We’ve barely recovered from the news that the American Royal wants to leave its West Bottoms home for the greener pastures of western Wyandotte County. Now comes word that Rockfest, the area’s annual headbanger extravaganza, is deserting its traditional home in Penn Valley Park to shred near Kansas Speedway this summer.
Buckcherry, we hardly knew ye.
There is a certain sadness in seeing Rockfest leave the center of the city. Each year the festival brought thousands of mostly young people to Kansas City, some for the first time. Sure, it was noisy, but noisy fun. If it was too loud, you were too old.
On the other hand, hard rock was also hard on the park. A little moisture, a little moshing, and the ground turned to mud. Festival organizers always repaired the damage, but still.
Parking was a problem, and some neighbors worried about the inconvenience. The park and nearby Liberty Memorial mall are more suited to symphony concerts and folk festivals than, say, Godsmack.
Besides, Rockfest has changed venues before. It started at Smithville Lake, moved to Longview Lake, then Sandstone Amphitheater, then Penn Valley Park. Then back to Sandstone.
So it’s OK that Rockfesters have a new place to play. The commute will be longer for some, but parking will be easier. And since the show takes place in June, it should be warmer for the audience and the bands.
Make no mistake: Rockfest is a tradition in the area, and it deserves our support. Rock fans have as much right to crunching, mind-melting music as the rest of us.
Now they’ll get it at a venue that appears to make more sense.
The western Wyandotte County entertainment and retail complex continues to grow, attracting patrons from across the Midwest. Kansas Citians grumbling about losing another attraction to Kansas should applaud that growth and understand there’s enough fun to go around for everyone.
And it’s good practice for Kansans. If you’re worried about the noise from a potential Johnson County airport, you can buy a ticket to Rockfest and stand next to the stage. That’s about what a jet engine sounds like.
It’s a bit louder than a prize steer. For that, you’ll have to wait for the American Royal.