John, I think there are are a lot of factors that make this an apples to oranges to grapes comparison. I've lived here 32 years and have attended concerts and events at numerous Memphis venues. Everyone knows that the BBQ Fest is not enjoyable unless you have access to someone's booth/tent, so that limits its overall appeal. Mud Island is a great concert venue, but Wilco is not a household name in this area and they appeal to a certain age and music genre demographics. The Shell's musical acts are very eclectic and often unfamiliar, but the setting is wonderful. It's casual, you don't get hassled by security, and you don't have to buy $10 beers or rely on pronto pups for your dinner. I can afford all of these events, so for me the issue is not cost--the issue is that the most attractive event is the one that provides the best overall experience for the consumer. I was at the Shell with friends and had a great time, but if I was invited to a BBQ booth, I might have been there, or if I liked Wilco enough I would have been there.
By MIcaela Watts, Josh Cannon, & Toby Sells
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