Let it be known that, in the 50th anniversary season of its opening, I finally fell in love with Merriweather.
I don't exactly know why it took so long, but, there it is. I suspect I stayed away because I'm not keen on crowds or summer heat. And for a long time our family budget didn't allow for extra expenditures during the summer.
The weather gods have blessed me this year, smiling on both the Paul Simon concert and last night's performance by Belle and Sebastian. For this I am grateful. There's no question that milder temps and lower humidity have contributed to my growing appreciation of the venue. As much as I love music, I hate Maryland summers more, so it's a difficult balance.
Last night my husband and I were surprised by a friend with two passes to the new VIP lounge/area (not sure what it's called). It's a really lovely respite from all the hustle and bustle plus the bathroom lines are way shorter. Everywhere we went last night when it was necessary to show tickets or wristbands or ID the employees were friendly and courteous. Not a dud in the lot.
Despite my reticence to actually turn up at events, I've pretty much always been a fan of the concept of Merriweather since I moved to Columbia in 1999. Hearing music drift over on the summer breeze was an added plus of living in Oakland Mills. I remember being stunned when I ran for CA Rep and an angry voter shouted at me, "You didn't support putting a bubble over Merriweather!" And I thought, "was this even an issue?"
I took a car full of teens to this week's showing of Moana at Merriweather. That late afternoon sun on the lawn was somewhat of a challenge to my enthusiasm, but a cold drink got me through. The Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission is hoping to grow a new generation of Merriweather fans through these family movie nights. I think it's a great idea.
But how about some children's programming? Where's Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Milkshake? That would be a great way to grow an audience, too. If Merriweather can't do it perhaps the Chryalis will fill that need. I think we have plenty of kids/parents in the area who would turn up for events like that. Don't you?
Speaking of the Chrysalis, I'm working on something new and different over there that I'm very excited about. More details soon.