Earlier today, I blogged about Binghamton's July Fest. But, I had something special I wanted to say about the power of music to heal.
To think that several years ago, this festival almost died in a sea of apathy (along with downtown), and today Court Street was filled with people of all ages enjoying the sunshine, is enough to give someone chills.
Music is a powerful tool. It can even help to heal wounded cities.
Binghamton has seen more than its share of hard times. Losing Endicott-Johnson, and later losing IBM (I am talking here about the Triple Cities, not strictly Binghamton but its two smaller neighbors to the west, Johnson City and Endicott) and the well paying jobs that left with IBM, was a very big blow. When we moved here in the mid 1980's this area was full of decaying factory buildings - sadly this has not been fully fixed.
But now, downtown Binghamton is on the way back up. There are a number of reasons for that, including influx from New York City-which may or may not always be a good thing. (Why? I will blog about that another time. And, when I say something like that, please keep in mind I am a native of New York City.)
Two major Binghamton events, July Fest and the August Chris Thater Memorial, added music last year. (Again strictly speaking, the Chris Thater Memorial does not take place in downtown, but rather on Binghamton's West Side) and - the crowds came. And they stayed, and enjoyed, dancing and interacting, into the wee hours of the night. There's no way this would have happened without the draw of music.
I know my spouse would never have set foot in downtown Binghamton on a sunny Saturday afternoon without the lure of music. I suspect he is far from the only one.
Tomorrow, the special appearance will be that of Gap Mangione.
I hope to be there.