Assessment of SPAC’s Direction?

 There are still great movements to be had at old SPAC.  My first time to American Girl Night (Wed. July 11) with the NYC Ballet gave me hope.  So many happy children.  The large screens under the walkways brought the action out to the lawn.  Intermission, saw the lower walkway filled with groups of young up-and-coming ballerinas practicing their signature dance moves.  I think everyone had a good time.

Jazz Fest, is a tradition for many.  Boy, do I miss the trees out by the gazebo.  But that’s where I set up for day one – each Saturday.  A bunch of us go there ever year.  On Sunday, the usual suspects are again lined upped, ready to go pre 11 A.M.   Just get to the gate early.   Through several names changes (Newport Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, Freihofer’s  Saratoga Jazz Festival), it’s still the same festival it always was.  For 35 years, old SPAC  has been getting it right.

The Philadelphia Orchestra arrives, for still three weeks, starting August 1.  It’s on everyone’s agenda.  Others, plan on spending every night there.

So far so good.  

And it was so good, for so long, back when the “Special Events” adequately  supplemented the Classical Programs.  That’s why “Special Events” were allowed to come to  old SPAC – to pay the bills. Booking, promoting, hosting – when it came to running the show, old SPAC did it all.  It seemed to work for about 35 Years or so (1966-2000).  SPAC was SPAC back then (Now known as old SPAC).

The slide begins.

Since 2000, SPAC has had a split personality: old SPAC and the new “Special Events”  promoter – Rock & Roll King.  Things change radically back then.  Ask anyone!  Basically, old SPAC gave the keys to the place over to the Rock & Roll King anytime the ballet and the orchestra weren’t playing.  OK – fine (as long as the Classical Programs are paid for with the profits from these shows).  I can deal with the new reality of getting less for more money by going to a Rock & Roll production at old SPAC.  Just keep to the old understand that your going to help pay for the Classical Programs. 

But somehow, things started slipping down that slippery slope.  The money wasn’t there.  What happen to the safety net?


The new contract in 2010, with the now King of Rock & Roll, has provided less money to old SPAC than the 2000 contract.  Result: The Classical Programs are being slashed.  The new reality is the King of Rock & Roll likes picking up an addition week to schedule his events .   Who could blame him?  He can pick up those open dates for free.   Instead of three weeks of ballet, we got PHISH for three days (on a weekend the ballet gave up) and two weeks of ballet.  OK -fine – King of Rock & Roll, get 3 million in ticket sales with Phish (just as long as you cover the bills of what’s left of the Classical Programs). 

But that not happening this year either, or next, with the ballet being cut to one week next year.  Classical Programs old friend, “Special Events”, who he can barely recognize as the King of Rock & Roll, will take over another weekend of what use to be Classical Programs.  

Assessment of SPAC’s Direction?

I figured it out – We’ll be seeing more of the King of Rock & Roll and less old classical stuff.


I never thought I see the day,

when the NYC Ballet would be cast astray,

from it’s Summer Home built on clay,

that somehow melted and drifted away.

Save the Classical Programs at SPAC,  it’s why  SPAC was created. 


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