Daily Archives: September 22, 2006


Each year, the Reading Riverfest, on Riverfront Drive by the Schuylkill River, reminds me that it is one of the best public events in Reading and that it has great potential for bringing us together in peace, harmony, and fun. I say this because it is real. It is simple. It has universal appeal. It is inexpensive. It brings the community together on a human scale. And it is a good time.Riverfest brings crowds to downtown Reading during daytime and evening hours. In fact, it does all the things that big-bucks arts projects (in which millions of dollars are spent on the gamble that some gentrified pre-fab version of an art scene will automatically arise here) are supposed to do.The upper classes are in the habit of spending big money to make themselves feel good and to increase their name recognition doing things they think the community needs. That’s acceptable for human services projects but what ensues from the prodigious expenditure of funds to erect large-scale construction projects as centers of culture often does less for the majority of citizens than simple fairs and festivals such as Riverfest do for us.Friday evening was wonderful. All ages, cultures, and classes of people moved through the event spaces and I didn’t see anyone who was not smiling. Splendid entertainment was everywhere present. I had the best time with the euphonious sounds of the tight, soulful, and funkified dance band, Burning House. That scene was the most vital, energetic, and entertaining I’ve experienced in quite some time.As I move through my life-as-art world, it occurs to me more and more that the most common things are the most beautiful.

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