Steve Shriver wrote a letter chastising those raising concerns and criticisms of the newbo evolve festival. Shriver asked, “What do you gain by complaining about an upcoming event?” (“Why you should support newbo evolve,” Feb. 5).
Shriver’s loaded question reveals his defensive attitude and skewed perception. It’s also emblematic of what is wrong with the “creative brain trust” in Cedar Rapids.
There are valid criticisms — not just petty complaints — about newbo evolve.
The overarching criticism: It’s been branded as a “celebration of the Bohemian spirit,” yet many aspects of the event — ticket pricing, mainstream pop acts and lack of people of color on the core lineup — are firmly un-Bohemian.
Organizers have said the festival is inspired by national events such as SXSW and Burning Man, which makes one wonder if the organizers have been to those events.
Perhaps the organizers would be better served looking 20 minutes south for inspiration on how to create a festival that is creative, culturally vibrant and accessible. Iowa City’s Mission Creek festival is comprised of indie music acts, progressive artists and timely lectures — all at a reasonable price.
A festival celebrating the creative spirit is a wonderful idea, but when legitimate criticism is derided and dismissed, it creates an idea vacuum and can cripple a well-intentioned mission. The valid critiques should be seen as valuable input, and those with ideas should be brought into the fold to collaborate and craft an event that truly embodies both creativity and community. Now that’s the Bohemian spirit.