A Glimpse of the Future in Hermann Park?

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Last night’s Solid Blues show at Miller Outdoor Theater might have been the start of something promising. Not so much for what it was (though it wasn’t bad), but for the untapped potential demonstrated by a couple thousand Houstonians – with plenty of room for a couple thousand more - turning up for a free blues show on a gorgeous autumn evening. If the City of Houston would hire someone savvy enough, and give them enough budget to aggressively pursue similar shows on a regular basis (and for God’s sakes promote them), the best mid-size live-music venue in town could turn out to be the one in the middle of Hermann Park.

Naturally a few kinks would have to be ironed out. For starters, the way Miller is constructed, with no controlled points of entry for the lawn area, makes selling tickets impossible unless the city wants to lay out for a whole bunch of chain-link fence. (That just seems wrong.) If more rock shows started to happen there, a lot of people would just be starting to get ready by the time the 10 p.m. curfew rolled around. Forget about extending that any later – all the nearby doctors, lawyers and Hotel Zaza guests trying to get some sleep would scream bloody murder. And unless some sort of cultural miracle happens, it’s hard to imagine the city dropping enough money into the parks and rec budget for Miller to bid competitively on most roadshows.

Now, if one of Houston’s many private philanthropic foundations that are oozing cash wanted to get involved and cough up a couple mill, that would be different. Surely that would make a pretty nifty tax write-off. Imagine how bad-ass a free show by, say, the White Stripes with, hmmm, Satin Hooks, the Dimes and Something Fierce opening, at Miller Outdoor would be. Take that, Austin!

Can anybody think of a way we can actually make this happen? If so, speak up. – Chris Gray

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