This morning we broke news from the Milwaukee Riverwalk District. RiverSplash!, Milwaukee's unofficial kick off to its big summer season, is dead.
It didn't surprise me, as I knew the festival struggled, like many events, with expenses, marketing and staffing. But, since I live in the festival's backyard I wanted to provide several comments.
For years, OnMilwaukee.com has been a sponsor. We'll miss this exposure and relationship. We hosted riversplash.com for some time, donated advertising and helped promote the festival. We live our mission at OnMilwaukee.com, and I think we helped build community through our relationship with RiverSplash! and its fest goers.
I've provided ideas for RiverSplash! in the past and even met with event organizers.
But, there just wasn't the intestinal fortitude to truly change. Why? Mainly because change can cost money.
Yet, I do think change can happen now that what was RiverSplash! is dead. RiverSplash!, in its efforts to keep Water Street happy and selling beer (not a bad thing but it did make the fest into more about beer and less about music and gathering), forgot about its purpose -- the Milwaukee River.
Canoe rides, fountains, RiverWalk art and other water-related activities could easily be offered, heavily promoted and simply replace the drinking focus of RiverSplash!.
As I wrote in 2008, "The festival needs more fountains, gondolas, public floating art, lights and a night lights parade along the RiverWalk and on the Milwaukee River.
Let's add games that use the water, too -- like rubber duck races and other contests (and yes, I know they did an annual paddle boat race). Use the river, have fun with it and do the same with the RiverWalk.
As for the fireworks, they are awesome. But, let's couple with a summer Downtown lights program (like the Marcus Center) and a parade of boats and lights on the Milwaukee River." A big boat parade, th…Read more...