The concept of live music in the Crossroads started out as part controversy, part pipe dream…
But as they say, time flies.
"This must be year five for the Crossroads," says promoter Brett Mosiman. "Holy crap! That’s hard to believe. Who would have thought that we would have made it, huh?"
In addition to calming area loft dweller’s concerns, Mosiman and partner Stretch faced formidable competition for outdoor shows from established venues like Sandstone, Starlight, the City Market, Westport and more. But instead of playing it safe and booking a handful of concerts, Mosiman dived in full force and it’s been growing both in number and quality of the acts ever since.
"We did 24 shows our first year," Mosiman says. "This year we’ll have 30 shows and we get done each night by midnight. We try and open every year the first week of May and we go until mid-October. We’ve been averaging 30 to 40 events the last three years."
As for the immediate competition, eh!
"I think the City Market’s always in the two to three show range," Mosiman says. "They’re not really competition. Harrah‘s is doing fewer concerts and the Crossroads has established itself, and the artists and fans are kind of finding the place. It’s grown out of word-of-mouth – it’s been an organic rise. And it’s earned its reputation as one of Kansas City’s funner, finer venues."
That said, Crossroads didn’t just magically happen…
"We’ve really worked hard to keep free parking," Mosiman says. "Our drink prices are half that of other venues and our ticket service charges are less than half what they are on Ticketmaster."
Crossroads groundwork is paying off in musical dividends this year in the form of bigger name acts.
"I think every year we’ve increased the gravitas of the venue," Mosiman says. "This year we have Jamey Johnson, Elvis Costello, Ben Folds, O.A.R. and Ben Harper. Those are big names. Those are great shows and it’s a perfect time to visit the arts district.
"When we came into Kansas City there wasn’t much going on. The town was never the greatest touring town and most acts skipped coming here. And we’ve been trying to change that."
As for what’s new at Crossroads this year, "Some paint here and there," Mosiman says. "And refining the mulch."
The bottom line: "Music underthe stars is such a wonderful thing," Mosiman muses. "Andwe married that to what was becoming a vibrant arts district. I mean, you watch people come in for the first time and see their faces light up."