The biggest change youll notice at this years Boise Music Festival on Saturday, July 7?
The difference in spectacle.
Now that the largest single-day gathering in the state has been moved to Expo Idaho, things can never quite be the same.
No more sweaty fans vaulting fences or climbing trees in Ann Morrison Park just for the chance to see Bret Michaels.
No more women dancing atop coolers with cans of beer in their hands.
No more cars towed for parking in the wrong spot at the park.
With luck, no more felony charges for leaving a child unattended in a gigantic crowd so intense that you could barely see grass.
In many ways, the third annual Boise Music Festival is better off in Garden City. But it probably wont be as wildly fun as its predecessors in Boises flagship park.
Or quite as affordable.
Its still free. But unlike the past two years, concertgoers wont be able to lug in ham sandwiches, Cokes or cases of Bud Light. No outside food or drink will be allowed. No pets, either. (Some dork brought a goat in 2010, which would just feel like a preview of the Western Idaho Fair at Expo Idaho now.)
Organizer Peak Broadcasting has distributed 70,000 free tickets. (Still need a ticket? Where to get them, plus a music schedule, on page 18.)
About 60 acts will perform on seven stages, including diverse, TV-centric headliners such as country singer Kellie Pickler, rocker Ryan Star and rapper LL Cool J.
Oh, and Smash Mouth. Even Grandma digs Smash Mouth.
Weve had just as much enthusiasm for this show as we have down at the park, says Kevin Godwin, senior vice president at Peak. I dont think theres been one person that weve talked to who said, Oh, Im not going because its at Expo Idaho.
The lineups really good. I think theres something for everybody.
Moving the festival was inevitable. Ann Morrison Park is a terrific ... park. Thats the catch. Trying to create an all-day festival for 50,000 or more people in a place with zero infrastructure was incredibly daunting and expensive.
Plus, the 200 or so vendors the people who help make all those tickets free werent getting enough return for their investment.
Godwin is hoping that Idahoans feel that being asked to buy concessions and visit vendors is a fair trade-off for a free ticket to a marathon music festival.
Were asking people ... to come in and take care of our sponsors, he says.
Godwin also wants to dispel any notion that the music festival is taking place in the grandstands so much, in fact, that he sent me photographs of the main stage location, which you can view on my blog.
Headliners will perform where the carnival is held during the Western Idaho Fair. Near Hawks Stadium.
Its lush grass there, just like at Ann Morrison Park, Godwin says.
Just to the east of the main stage is a bunch of huge trees, he adds. Beer gardens will be up under the shaded area.
I have no doubt the Boise Music Festival will be more comfortable for organizers and festivalgoers. Expo Idaho is an experienced, organized event host.
Youll be able to cool off inside the expo building, where RVs, sports cards and other Boise businesses will be showcased.
Bottom line, though: This is the start of a new era for the Boise Music Festival. After two hugely attended parties near Downtown, this event isnt even in Boise anymore.
The million dollar question is, how many people will show up? Crowd estimates were as jaw-dropping as 70,000 in the Ann Morrison Park days.
We think it will be the same amount or maybe a little less thats my guess if you were to ask me, Godwin says. Maybe a little less. And that would probably be OK.
If you miss Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears July 11 at the Grove Plaza, you will miss the best Alive After Five of the summer.
Pollstar.com is reporting that Lynyrd Skynyrd is headed to the Idaho Center Amphitheater on Sept. 28. Sources tell me the show is not confirmed yet, but it looks like a go.
Coming in my Sunday column: An update on Oasis Event Center near Mountain Home, plus the story behind Sun Valleys MASSV festival, free k.d. lang tickets and more.
Michael Deeds column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He hosts The Other Studio at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds