At least two attendees of last weekend’s WaterFire New Age smoke out on the Plaza came up to me to tell how fragrant the smoke was coming from the allegedly 55 bonfires set ablaze on Brush Creek. I can’t smell, so I’ll take their word. Not so on a crowd estimate of 25,000. Not after actually counting heads at the Plaza’s Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony a handful of years back. I don’t thinkWaterFire’s attendance even comes close.
Remember, the Plaza had been promulgating numbers in the 250,000 to 300,000 range. Naturally talking TV news heads totally bought it, and reported it as fact. Until that is Waldo businessman Gary Evert and a task force of UMKC statistics students did an actual count for my Kansas City Star column that came in around 23,000 and change.
The Plaza then came clean that they had never conducted a count and have been silent on the subject since.
So allow me to toss a number out based not on a count, but on past experience; well under 5,000.
My 12 year-old daughters finding WaterFire as boring as they did actually surprised me.
So I solicited opinions from a pair of actual adults. One who attended and one who seemed to know better.
“I’ve never seen it,” says artist Peregrine Honig, owner of birdies boutique in the Crossroads. “”I’m such a snob when it comes to dance. I usually don’t go see dance unless it’s by a well-established choreographer. And I usually prefer dance that is more experimental.”
Not that Honig wasn’t tempted: “I mean, I love Nathan Granner – he’s super talented,” she says. “If there’s anything that could get me down to that thing, it’d be Nathan Granner and he almost did.”
The acclaimed KC-based tenor performed on a stage atop a bridge over the creek.
So was Honig at all intrigued by the bonfire experience?
“No, I wasn’t really interested,” she says. “You know, we have some really great art and performance stuff in Kansas City, so it’s really hard when we spend so much money in town on something that’s a great moneymaker, but (that’s) not my cup of tea.”
Tony Botello of KC Confidential and Tony’s Kansas City actually did zip down to catch the action.
“I’m interested in how they get post menopausal Brookside women to watch a shitty techno band,” Botello quips. “The women in the audience were dancing and having a good time. I mean, it’s good if you’re like high, but most of ’em weren’t.”
That addresses the mini stage shows only, not the broader concept of bonfires on the Brush and laid back music. Speaking of which, how was