Fate of 'Music in the Park' in limbo after crimes

August 27, 2011 1:16:46 AM PDT
Last night may have been the night the music died in San Jose. The city's immensely popular "Music In the Park" program may be disbanded because it's gotten too big and too violent. The future of the popular Thursday night series is in jeopardy.

Thursday night there was a fight on a VTA light rail and was the latest skirmish surrounding San Jose's long-running Music In The Park summer music festival.

In and of itself this wasn't a big deal, but it's been much worse. On June 9th, five were stabbed in a McDonald's parking lot, just three blocks from where the music festival was taking place.

San Jose police note that the problems are on the periphery of the concert, not in the park where the music is being played.

"What we've been seeing is an uptick in fighting and alcohol-related crimes in the Downtown area. We don't want to call it inside the venue, it's not really happening inside the venue," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

Music In The Park was designed to increase Downtown foot traffic and help business, but some are wondering if the festival is doing more harm than good.

Richard Burde is a bartender at the Bijan Cafe, which is directly across from the concert. He said, "There have been times when Music in the Park has brought no business at all and you see a lot of people walking around and they want to use the bathroom a lot and get waters and things like that."

The concert series is put on by the San Jose Downtown Association which will decide if this festival -- a Downtown staple since 1988 -- will continue.

"If our members tell us that they want to go for a different demographic, a different kind of niche, we're going to be all ears," said Scott Knies from the San Jose Downtown Association.

But what will those ears hear on Thursday nights, more music or the sound of silence?

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