Sunday, April 17, 2011

B.O.M.B. Fest 2011: Venue Change = Awesome

We couldn't ask for better news regarding B.O.M.B. Fest. In fact, it would seem wrong to ask for anything more because the lineup is so amazing, and because they're bringing all these incredible bands to Connecticut for a great cause. But, of course, the festival had to get better: It's moving from Danbury to Hartford.

This is great in so many ways.

First of all, I've driven to and from Western Connecticut State University a number of times, and I was ready to do it again for B.O.M.B. Fest. Yes, it's a college campus, so there's space, but it's kind of far off the highway, and some of those roads can get difficult to navigate when there's any traffic at all. It's also on the western side of the state, which is far for a lot of Connecticut residents. The Comcast Theater in Hartford, which I will forever call the Meadows, is right off the highway, and it's pretty centrally located. This is a two-day festival so a lot of us will be driving in and out two days in a row. Making the commute easier means we can have a more enjoyable time overall.

Second, the Meadows knows how to handle a concert crowd - people go there for big concerts. The traffic situation may be tough, but it will be fine. I've been to a lot of concerts there and have never been late or had problems because of traffic or parking. It will be better than driving to a place where they've never had to handle that big a crowd. In fact, the festival was moved because of capacity issues, which I'm not surprised about. More on that later in this post.

There are so many benefits to having a festival of this magnitude at a place that can handle it. We'll have parking. We'll be directed to parking as soon as we get off the highway. If this were still at WCSU, we'd drive a long way before we'd know where to park, and there may not be places to park directly next to the concert. At the Meadows, there are huge parking lots just for concert-goers. There are porto-potties right in the parking lot and on the outskirts of the venue, and once you get inside, there are plenty of bathrooms (something you have to worry about more when you're a girl, and especially when spending all day at a concert festival, only wanting to take short bathroom breaks so you don't miss your favorite bands).

The Meadows also has its own concessions stands, so we won't have to worry about food or drink throughout the day, when we'll be spending the majority of two whole days there. That was one of the great things about B.O.M.B. Fest last year at the Durham Fairgrounds - there were stands set up for food service already, so we stayed full and hydrated throughout the day.

There have been a lot of complaints on the event page - both today because of the location change, and over the past few weeks because certain local bands weren't chosen to play. Those complaints are completely outrageous and are the opposite of what this festival, and what appreciating music, is all about. Hartford is more convenient for a lot of other people, people who were willing to drive as far out to Danbury to see these bands. Even if it isn't as convenient for residents on the western side of the state, Connecticut is still a small state - the commute isn't that much longer. There won't be issues of intimacy with the bands - it will be exactly the same. Either way, you have to set up stages and speakers and move around from stage to stage to see the different bands. When you're really into a concert, you're there for the music, for the fun of it, for yourself, and for the band. It will be great. And all the side benefits of this festival being held at a concert venue that can cater to this large a crowd will only make it better.

On the local band argument, over 500 bands tried out for 25 spots. The people picking those bands care about local music and had a tough decision to make. They're people who work everyday to support local music in our state. They deserve appreciation for what they do, or respect at the very least.

I noticed that Frank Bombaci himself commented on some of the posts complaining about the venue change, trying to explain his decision. In one response, he said that "this was one of the hardest two weeks of [his] life!" He said the university had last-minute capacity concerns, and he was faced with the decision to either cancel the show or move it. He's working closely with the Comcast management to keep the B.O.M.B. Fest feel, and this is the first time the Comcast has held a nonprofit event. There will be information on the B.O.M.B. Fest website: on Tuesday regarding refunds and answering FAQ. 

If anything, the Bombacis deserve our thanks for all the hard work they've done putting together the festival this year, and the past ones. B.O.M.B. Fest has grown drastically over this short amount of time - it went from being an awesome festival to the premiere one in the area. It's bringing us some awesome bands, and it's sure to be an amazing time. That's something we should appreciate, not complain about.

In case you didn't see our initial post on our excitement for B.O.M.B. Fest, you can see it here:

And if you've been keeping track, we've been doing quick features on some of the bands we'll see, and we'll keep doing them until the festival. Keep checking back!

- Freesia


  1. thanks! psyched to see you there!

  2. ?? if you had actually been to wcsu, then you'd know that the west side campus is about 1/4 mile from exit 4 on 84. no turns... no country road. take a left or right off the highway exit ramp (depending on whether you were coming from the east or west)... travel 1/4 mile in a straight line and you're there.
    according to management of the ives concert park, none of the proper channels were followed in the booking of this event (ie "clusterfuk")

  3. Yeah, what the heck, Western could barely be any closer to I-84.

    And I've never been to a show at the Meadows but I've seen how the concert traffic makes everything pile up for miles on both sides of 84 and 91. The entire area becomes tied up like a pretzel.

    The people in that neighborhood of Danbury must be breathing sighs of relief right now that they won't be the ones to have to deal with it.

  4. I've actually been to WCSU several times because my brother went there, so I know the drive. From central Connecticut, we take 84 until exit 8 and then drive two miles to campus. Those are the directions people will get from GPS and Google maps, and it's the most direct way for us. There's a lot to drive past. Having the concert at the Meadows means it's directly off the highway, which is better for everyone driving in from other towns.

    When there's a change to an event, especially a location change, there's bound to be people who disagree. I still stand by the points I made in the above post, and I think B.O.M.B. Fest is something that should be supported.

  5. Excellent post and couldn't agree more!

  6. No one's disagreeing with the event, we're disagreeing with the suggestion that Western is far away from the highway (which seems to be your initial point to start off this post) when it really isn't. No big deal, though.

  7. Can't we all agree that Danbury sucks and no one wants to go there?

  8. I personally will be going to the festival regardless of the location change, but as someone who lives in NY on the border of Danbury, I can assure you there is a HUGE difference to me between driving 60 miles over 2 days and driving 280 miles over 2 days. Of course people who live closer to Hartford are happy about the venue change, but I'm not sure there's any basis to assume that the majority of attendees would find the change to be more convenient. In any event, I feel the festival is not only for a good cause, but will be fun as hell, but that won't stop me from whining about the change ;)

  9. I was coming in from North Jersey and had to cancel because of the venue move. An 80 minute trip became a little over 2 and 1/2 hours each way. Just not practical to do for 2 days in a row.

    It is hard to begrudge them though. It is great that they are still able to go on with the show at all. With All Points West going under, BOMB is our area's last hope for a fest with mainstream acts.(I like ATP but it is a totally different thing that doesn't scratch the Coachella/All Points West itch).

    But, where ever they wind up for future years, I hope they consider moving back to an open space instead of a seated venue. An amphitheater creates a really lifeless cavernous environment for day time acts.

  10. The amphitheater seating is all general admission and people can use the seats if they choose. In front of those seats, there is standing room RIGHT in front of the main stage. Behind the seats, there is a lawn area which people are also free to stand/sit/move as they please.

    All other stages are have entirely open spaces for viewing.

    No one will be confined to a seat if they don't want to be.

  11. What a joke!! This is the most biased article I have ever read!! Move the venue after ticket sales have begun. Everyone who already bought a ticket should ask for a refund! From cool to corporate in one quick dive! Way to go Bombaci {himself}

  12. Not sure if you noticed, but we're a blog. We can be as biased as we want. And we love the Meadows. And B.O.M.B. Fest. So there.