COLUMBIA — Ninth Street Summerfest's move to Forrest Rose Park near Mojo's drew a large crowd and attracted varied reviews about the new venue.
People slowly began to filter in at about 8 p.m., and soon after, the park was packed with concertgoers. Groups of people also sat on the Mojo’s patio enjoying beers, the extra seating and a good view of the stage.
Some found the enclosed park comfortable and appreciated the reprieve from the heat under the park's heavy shade.
The move to Forrest Rose Park follows a petition from downtown business owners who want to restrict street closings for Summerfest and a recent city council action that would have allowed Red and Moe Pizzeria owner Tom Rippeto to sell alcohol on Ninth Street during a concert.
Willy Maxwell, who has been attending Summerfest events for a few years, said he was happy with the new venue and that it was easier for him to stand in a grassy area than on asphalt.
Bess Frissell said she didn’t mind the move and enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere. She said the grassy venue felt more “Columbia” than just being on the street.
Others missed the excitement of the Ninth Street location.
John Holdmeier felt that Ninth Street has a "cooler" feel and is better for attracting visitors to downtown Columbia. Although Holdmeier said he thinks Forrest Rose Park is a great venue for smaller, local bands, he thought bigger bands wouldn’t want to play there.
“It’s not going to be a worse show; it just won’t be as cool or unique as if they played on Ninth Street,” Holdmeier said.
Holdmeier's friend Nathan Corley shared that sentiment and said that any town could have a concert at a park, but the downtown venue was specific to the city.
Holdmeier said he also noticed that the flow of the concert was disrupted because of the narrow entrance that made the venue seem less open and much smaller.