Opinion: Where is all this going with Kit Carson Park?

By Sam Richardson, Taos
Posted 8/29/19

Tsunamis of noise emanating from Kit Carson Park hammered Taos for three days, last weekend (Aug. 16-18). Some of what was heard during the Meow Wolf Taos Vortex event was recognizable as music, the …

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Opinion: Where is all this going with Kit Carson Park?

Posted

Tsunamis of noise emanating from Kit Carson Park hammered Taos for three days, last weekend (Aug. 16-18). Some of what was heard during the Meow Wolf Taos Vortex event was recognizable as music, the rest was some sort of pulsating, high-tech, thumping turbulence.

"EGM," said a participant, referring to electronically generated music. And it was constant. The babble could be heard and felt for miles around. I live just about a half-mile from the park and could hear almost everything. People who lived closer in, especially those living right next to the park, must have left home to get relief.

The audience ranged in the thousands, with a great percentage of them camped right in the park. A ticket for a full weekend's camping was $310. Entrance for a single day was $141. The free parking next to Guadalupe Church was taken over by event staff, and, needless to say, parking around the plaza and the downtown area was hard to find. This couldn't have helped downtown art galleries and other business, because eventgoers weren't here to buy art or shop, and people who did want to browse the galleries had trouble parking.

So who benefited from this carnival? The first argument is always "hotels and restaurants." Some probably did book well, but with so many of the revelers camped in the park and eating food they brought with them, this might not have been the field day service providers had hoped for.

Events like this disrupt day-to-day life in Taos. Families can't use the park for picnics and family-night movies while these circuses are happening, and traffic congestion inconveniences the whole community. Most of the park was closed for weeks, earlier this summer, while the stage was under construction.

With the inaccessibility of the park and all these events and traffic, we find that Taos is entering a new age. And there's more to come. Get ready for Sting, a major act that will reproduce the chaos of the past weekend again in September.

Does Taos really need big outdoor music events geared to entertain millennials, most of whom come from out of town then leave - and does Taos need big Vegas-type acts like Sting?

A town once known for visual arts is changing its face. Many people think that the money and energy that goes into all this chaos would be better spent promoting the arts - the galleries, writer's conferences, poetry readings, chamber music recitals and literary events. Taos could be a magnet for high culture. It's all here. If it was promoted, a different type of clientele could be drawn here, and a new generation of arts patrons could be cultivated.

Where is it all going? Scary to think about it.

Sam Richardson lives in Taos.

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