Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric Wilfong
Capitol Riverfront BID has released A Letter from the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District:
We are writing to you as patrons and supporters of the Capitol Riverfront Friday Night Concert Series at Yards Park. We want to thank everyone who has attended the concert series and made it and Yards Park such a popular riverfront destination. The park has become what the creators of the Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan envisioned back in 2003 – an opportunity for all to enjoy access to the Anacostia River through a beautiful public park.
Over the past five years, the popularity of the concerts has soared. Back in the summer of 2011, crowds averaged 100 people. Now the concerts routinely top 3,000 attendees, with one concert attracting over 5,000. As we continually evaluate the operation of the park and the concert series, we have considered annually whether the BYOB option is consistent with our park operations, and also whether it is operationally sustainable and insurable.
We discussed the likely changes with city officials and Capitol Riverfront stakeholders. The decision to omit the BYOB option, which occurred prior to any sponsorship decisions, was made for several important reasons, including:
A BYOB option is not possible under the park insurance policy, without which we could not offer the concerts,
The continued safety of our patrons, as crowds increase due to concert popularity
Additional tons of discarded bottles that make for more difficult and costly trash removal.
The popularity of Yards Park has grown beyond our expectations, and our goal is to make sure the concerts remain a unique and free opportunity to enjoy music and community on the river’s edge. As always, concert- goers are welcome to bring their own picnics and non-alcoholic beverages, and a variety of canned beer and wine will be available at multiple stations at affordable prices.
We understand the disappointment many have expressed, and we are heartened by the loyalty that is being displayed for Bluejacket and other local businesses. In 2014, Bluejacket was a sponsor of the concerts and also vended in the park. The BID was approached by other potential sponsors who offered partnership opportunities, and Bluejacket declined a similar sponsorship.
Sponsorships and lease fees directly support ongoing maintenance, repairs, or programming in the park that will keep this neighborhood treasure vibrant and usable for years to come. Yards Park has had a series of planned capital repairs such as the recently completed installation of a new filtration system. The park has also had unforeseen repairs made from year-to-year savings, including the removal and reconditioning of pumps that flooded in 2014. We are very thankful for the sponsorship support we have received.
We invite you to come and enjoy this year’s series and concert line-up, beginning May 20th with the Tour de Fat concert in Yards Park.
Michael G. Stevens, AICP
Vice President of Parks and Public Realm”