Madison’s Concert on the Square is a BIG event, with upwards of 30,000 people coming to the capitol lawn on selected Wednesday nights in the summer to hear the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Sometimes, there may be featured guest artists, but it’s a plenty good show whether the orchestra has guest performers or not. The crowd is so large that many of the people are in locations where they can’t even see the orchestra, but the music fills the air and some streets are closed to accommodate vendors, overflow seating and pedestrians.
One good idea that we could incorporate into our Wausau summer concerts is the idea of having more vendors and overflow space. This would be easy to do and not very disruptive by closing off Fourth Street in front of the Grand Theater or Third Street in the 400 block — even both of them, if things reach that level of need, based on crowd size. (This same staging style is used for events such as Jazz on the Square at Cathedral Square in Milwaukee.)
It might take some time for people to understand that they can get a full menu on-site instead of bringing their own stuff, but establishing this addition would be a good thing and it would provide a new opportunity for commercial and non-profit interests alike. Working one-night, weather-sensitive events can be a little tricky, but it’s like going fishing: the really good days tend to make up for the times when they’re just not biting.