Saying so long to Cityfest / Tastefest

Cityfest, Detroit’s best summer festival, is no more. After a great 20-year run, the New Center Council, the organizers of the festival, have decided to focus instead on redeveloping New Center Park. Just as the award-winning Campus Martius has brought new life to downtown, organizers hope the renovated park will serve as a year-round anchor for the neighborhood. The park, which has capacity for 700, will host free movies and concerts Wednesday through Saturday all summer long.

New Center Park Site Plan

New Center Park Site Plan

As disappointed as I am to see Cityfest shut down, I can’t totally begrudge their decision. The New Center Council is an economic development agency, not a cultural organization. The motivation for producing Cityfest was to draw attention to the New Center and build the area’s image. In that regard, the event was a great success. Who didn’t gawk at the majesty of the Fisher Building while standing in line for ribs? But a four-day party doesn’t make a neighborhood. A great urban park can.

New Center Park Pavilion

New Center Park Pavilion

I’m certainly still rooting for Cityfest to make a comeback. Summertime in Detroit won’t be the same without it, especially with Festival of the Arts having met its end as well. But if the choice is between a great, four-day party and a round-the-clock neighborhood, I know which one I favor.

13 thoughts on “Saying so long to Cityfest / Tastefest

  1. Dee Miller

    I have NEVER missed the New Center Taste Fest – I worked at the GM Building on Grand Blvd. and at the Fisher Building and it was an absolutely do not miss affair. How unfortunate to not have this gala affair – what else will be cut out for our fair, beloved city of Detroit??

  2. LDR INC

    Our City/Taste Fest, will be greatly missed…I’m all for making things better, and more safe for us all, but I think this just was NOT thought all the way through. If you have a new gem to show off, what better way to show it than to show it to 500,000 people in one weekend, that would really kick it off right, the City fest could and would do that. Then tell and show the people that it would continue for the rest of the summer showing a half a million people something new to be a part of would get a lot of people comming back to the area the next week and the weeks right after the festival. how long will it take to show 500,000 people your new venue with the current plan?
    However I do agree with the part to have concerts and live performances all summer long that is a great thing to do…..So please figure a way to combine both and I think you will have the best of both worlds,… Someone who LOVES the City of Detroit……….

  3. JL - Royal Oak

    I totally agree with LDR Inc. The City Fest would have been a wonderful way to introduce the New Center Park. Someone definitely missed the boat on this decision. I just don’t understand the rationale. The Cityfest was highly successful for many years and brought thousands of people into the city. There’s more to this decision than meets eye.

  4. Cooper Post author

    I think you’re both right. It would have made the most sense to use Cityfest to launch the new park. My guess though is that they didn’t have enough staff or resources to plan both at the same time. Maybe they’ll be able to pull it off next year? I sure hope so.

  5. Frank Weatherbee

    I just accessed the Internet today to check on the schedule of events for Cityfest and, sadly, I am disappointed that there will be no Cityfest. As a former New Center area employee, I enjoyed the festival for years at lunchtime and after work. When I retired, I returned every year for at least a couple of days to enjoy the people watching and the concerts. This was always my big event of the year and always made Detroit a destination for me and my friends and relatives as well as other suburbanites! I am sure the new park with it’s weekly concerts will work just fine for the local residents but not so fine for the suburbanites like me that come to Detroit for special events. I am truly sorry to see the Cityfest come to an end!

  6. dj dave

    the cityfest was one thing (besides the TIGERS) that
    made me still care about the place I grew up in-detroit.
    the music made me choose the day I went. But also the
    nice diversity of people, and I mean nice people, was a
    great feeling. itseems the problems of the city were
    forgotten or put aside for those 4/5 days. can’t we get
    that feeling again?

  7. JUALLU

    I WILL DEFININTLY MISS THIS EVENT. I HAVE ATTEND AND WORKED AT THE TASTEFEST. IT WAS A GREAT WAY TO LEARN OF LOCAL RESTURANT IN DETROIT THAT DO GET A CHANCE TO ADVERTISE. IT WAS NICE TO GET TO FIND QUALITY GOOD FOOD, AND FIND IT WAS IN THE AREA. NOT TO MENTION THE NEW PRODUCTS AND MUSIC ALL KINDS OF MUSIC. THERE WAS SOMTHING FOR EVERYONE IN THE CITY AND OUT OF THE CITY TO ENJOY. DID ANYONE THINK TO HAVE IT IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION OF THE CITY?

  8. BK

    I too am very disappointed there won’t be a CityFest this year. I’m at work and decided to see who was appearing this weekend, sadly instead I found that the CityFest is no more. Attending this event was a big part of my celebrating the 4th of July holiday weekend. The park will be nice but not the same. Please consider bringing it back.

  9. dottiegirl

    I am deeply sadened as I checked for a list of events for this years tastefest that it is long gone. What can one do for out of town visitors besides Belle Illes or Motown Museum ( been there done that)? I’m hoping for something bigger and better to enjoy.

  10. kim smith

    I would like to see the Cityfest/Taste Festival returned. I think the New Center Park is good. However, I would like to have the Tast Festival once a year. This is an opportunity to show off the resturants, variety foods, business, we have in the New Center Area in Detroit. Also, it brings, neighbors and business together ( Henry Ford Hospital, State Trooper, Secretary State office, City Council Clerk Office, Detroit Neighbors. Please rethink this out…put it on the ballot. I think as taxpayer we should have been asked.

  11. KENNY

    I would travel from YPSILANTI TWP to DETROIT every year for the wonderful variety of foods offered. Am very disappointed that it is no longer around. It was a wonderful way to show case the city. Another reason for the city to lose tourist. WTG city of DETROIT.

  12. justine bell

    I think they should have the cityfest at hart plaza. They should be like chicago’s taste fest.

  13. dj dave

    why can’t the powerstructure force to save the best
    safe venues in detroit and never let them go away.
    I never missed one and what a wonderful mix of people
    it brought to the city..there was something for everyone!
    this was a truly a landmark event so please get it back!

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