So we’ve gotten through three weeks of Summer Music & Movies in Loring Park. Folks probably heard by now the craziness surrounding the first week, Mali’s Issa Bagayogo. That wasn’t my show, and for this I am grateful. Issa was delayed for hours by customs, making it touch and go for hours on this end as well. Audience members showed incredible patience with the interminable delays, and we were definitely feeling the heat. What to do in a situation like this? Cancel? Disappoint all the hundreds of people waiting to hear this legend that traveled from half a world a way? Or keep everyone waiting until the last possible minute and throw him up on stage the second he arrives? We chose the latter, and clearly the audience felt it was the right decision, judging from the crowd reaction as he played (though incredibly exhausted and likely cranky as hell).
The split-second decision making around this one was a political minefield. Of course we want to respect city noise ordinances. Of course we want to respect the people that live around the park. Of course we want to deliver the show we’ve been promising for weeks. Of course we want to give this artist the chance to play after months of planning and what seemed like a never-ending series of flight and customs nightmares. What to do? But since we were told by the powers that be (or who we thought were the being powers) to go ahead despite the lateness of the hour, we went for it. And those thousand people that were there, and the hundreds of thousands more that count Minneapolis as home and as an important cultural outpost, I hope got what they came for and were grateful to see all of us welcoming an international artist with the respect and dignity he deserves. And to those few people who were outraged by the “noise”….sorry. I really mean that.