From The Editors: July 8, 2015
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. The addition of your voice to this conversation makes it louder and harder to ignore.
In case you missed it, we recently made a serious and sincere offer to Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott. In short, we wrote an open letter offering to help plan the entertainment for Celebrate Erie 2016.
Rather than rehash the points we made — chief among them was the booking of contemporary, relevant headliners — we encourage you to read the open letter at ErieReader.com, where, so far, more than 10,000 unique visitors have interacted with the op-ed, many commenting on our site and sharing the link via Facebook and Twitter.
At the time of our publication deadline, neither the Mayor nor a representative from his office had responded to our proposal. But many other Erieites and Erie ex-pats have in the form on an online petition.
A week after we suggested the change, local small-business owner and brewmaster Jason Lavery started the no-frills petition that simply read: "Give the Erie Reader editors a chance to help book the bands for Celebrate Erie 2016." As our deadline approached, the petition had more than three-hundred signatures and more than one-hundred comments.
Instead of reiterating the points we've already made, we've decided to use this space as a follow-up co-authored by some of those who've signed the petition to illustrate that we are in fact not alone in our thinking and that the people of Erie believe in taking risks and embracing change in the recognition that better days lie ahead.
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. The addition of your voice to this conversation makes it louder and harder to ignore:
Aaron Pacy: The passion that the ER crew brings to all things Erie is a perfect reason to let them have the reins. Thank you.
Sarah Lewis: Great article! I've been living in Erie for six years now and have always wished that this event was more than what it is…
Erika Berlin: Do something to show a younger, savvier audience that Erie wants to keep them here and engage them in this event!
Ben Frazier: As someone who left Erie in his 20s, I offer this advice: if you want to reverse Erie's "brain drain" problem: give its youth some reasons to stay, and, well, CELEBRATE their city. Culture and entertainment loom large in the list of points that make a city "livable" — instead of just catering to baby boomers, why not offer a truly diverse selection of entertainers? When you've got people who are well into their 40s bemoaning the washed-up state of entertainers, you know you've got a problem. I guarantee the buzz generated by the addition of an up-and-coming act to the Celebrate Erie roster will downright palpable.
Chris Trabold: Best thing I've read in quite sometime; thank you for trying to fix this yearly trainwreck.
Tom Ferraro: My 25-year-old son told me that he and half of his friends from Pittsburgh would come up to Erie to see every band that the Reader listed! Let's give them a chance!
Matthew Allyn: I'd actually go to Celebrate Erie if this were the case.
Sandy Turco: Fresh talent will attract fresh people from surrounding areas. By signing this petition, we are supporting our local businesses and bringing much needed revenue to our town. Thank you, Erie Reader, for taking the reins on this. It is beyond time for a change!
Mary Walker: Please give these talented people the opportunity to do something great for the hardworking people of Erie. We deserve to have GREAT musicians/bands at our annual celebration! Thank you.
Robert Eller: The younger generation is the future of this city, and bringing bands that will attract that audience will help us grow.
Matthew P.W. Rogers: It's time the people of Erie stand up say enough is enough. Stop insulting us by bringing bottom-tier entertainment. There's no reason why Erie shouldn't be on the music scene map. With top-tier acts, we could easily draw crowds from the surrounding cities (Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh), thus bringing additional revenue to the city.
Tomee Barnes: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring music to Erie from this decade.
Dylan D.: This is too much of an iconic celebration for Erie to just half-step on the music involved.
Sean McGrath: Yes, please! Let's stop inviting (and PAYING) embarrasing has-beens to Celebrate Erie. Have some pride, people!
Angela Coustillac: It's time for this city to start making some changes and investing in the young people we want to stay here!
Luis Pontillo: As someone who graduated college recently and who currently lives and works in Erie, I can't remember the last time I spent a full weekend here. I go to many concerts on the weekends, sometimes during the week and tend to spend most of my leisure time in Buffalo, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh. If we had more bands here that piqued the younger demographic, there would be so much reason to stay…
Jessica Chaplain: Please, god; let this happen.
Editors' note: Not all comments were included, and some have been edited for clarity and length. To read all of the comments, share your thoughts, and sign the petition, visit: ipetitions.com/petition/celebrateerie2016.