Winston-Salem Rocks the Block

rocktheblock2008.jpg Well, that was definitely interesting. It does also show that some festivals and such can go very well if they’re consistent and are done right.
Rock the Block is a free event that happens every year since 2002 and was entirely hopping. I mean 4th Street was packed by the time we got there. What was interesting was that there was parking everywhere that was filling up and a lot of it was for $4 or so. But a nice police officer pointed us to a parking garage right on 4th St that was free. Nice. Probably something to note for next year.
The live bands were pretty good, but we were drawn more towards the Rock Stage that was sponsored by Foothills Brewery. Caught music from both Jews & Catholics and the Eric Dodd Band. Personally, this was my favorite live music area of all of them, but that was just personal tastes. There were five different stages, each separating out the area with two capping off 4th and the others capping the main streets in the middle (Spruce, Marshall, and Cherry).
There was a street basketball area by the Kids section (inflatable fun stuff), where they were showcasing the Winston-Salem Storm. This is the semi-pro basketball team in the resurrected ABA (American Basketball Association) league. Just reading about the league itself is pretty interesting, but it’s nice to see some push for sports around the Triad. Speaking of sports, The Rush was handing out free trial memberships or something for the downtown facility. I didn’t pick one up since I already have a gym membership elsewhere, but their staff was out there handing out cards of some sort to anyone that was willing to glance their direction.
We did roam all the way down 4th and looked at the vendors, smelled the delicious food, and watched as a whole bunch of people streamed in and out of that area. Vendors of notable mention would probably be the Holston Company. For some reason, their beadwork was very unique (croqueted), and the name of the company seemed downright familiar. Perhaps some sort of relationship with Jonna Holston from the Bead and Button magazine? I have to say that it’s one of the most festive nights that I’ve seen in WS at all where people were jam packed together and it was difficult to move from one area to another. All of the restaurants had overflow seating outside and it was still super crowded.
All in all, it was a good time. Being that it was in a conversation I had with a friend about live music performance licensing, I did notice that some of the bands were playing cover songs. Whether or not the City of Winston-Salem actually paid attention to this, it might be good to make sure that the bands have the licensing to play covers in case of legal issues. This aside, I have to admit that Eric Dodd’s version of Tom Petty’s Free Falling was outstanding. Better than Tom Petty, I’d have to say. I did find it enjoyable that Winston would actually have such an event, and that it would be a lot more fun if it was a few more blocks wide and not just 4th Street. Maybe something like Asheville’s Belechere. Of course, Belechere has had over twenty five years to perfect its image. For its sixth year, Rock the Block definitely set the bar for a one night street event.