Asheville’s Labor Day concert in Pack Square Park canceled

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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labor_day_concert_asheville_symphonyI’ve received word that the free outdoor Labor Day Weekend concert scheduled for Pack Square Park has been canceled. I’m working to confirm.

Event organizers had hoped that a new cover for the Pack Square Park stage would be in place for the big concert, which has drawn thousands to the park to hear the Asheville Symphony play outside. Last year, the Asheville Downtown Association launched a fund-raising campaign seeking $100,000 for the stage cover. The group said the polyester cover will allow for a greater range of events to be programmed at the park. The symphony in the park has been produced through private donations, not by the downtown association, btw.

Instead of a big unveiling at Labor Day, festivities will be moved to Memorial Day next May.

This would have been the four year for the Labor Day concert in Pack Square Park. Last year’s Labor Day weekend event was rescheduled from September in the park to October at Diana Wortham Theatre due to heavy rains.

Clarification from loyal reader Mike at the symphony: The ASO’s done three Symphony in the Park shows, two of which have been rained out.  The second year we did move to Diana Wortham Theatre, but last year, we canceled the September performance due to weather and rescheduled for the October date and performed in the park.

This year has been a rough year for outdoor festivities in downtown Asheville. Last week, organizers of the LAAFF festival on Lexington Avenue announced they were canceling this year’s September street party and planning to bring it back next year. Last weekend was the last year the city of Asheville is paying for the 35-year-old Bele Chere street party. And later this month, the annual weekend Goombay festival has been drastically scaled back to a small event marking the founding of the YMI Cultural Center.

Image link for Labor Day concert at Pack Square Park.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Luis September 10, 2013

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  2. Suzanne August 3, 2013

    It has not been cancelled … it has been postponed to Memorial Day.

  3. Murphy July 30, 2013

    Did any of you read the article … it doesn’t appear so, based on the comments.

    They’ve only planned 3 of these concerts in history, 2 were rained out, one of which was held in October of last year (another at Diana Wortham) and this year’s has been rescheduled (Memorial Day 2014) because the canopy being installed over the stage will not be finished in time …

    geez, it’s not like there’s a big conspiracy.

  4. hauntedheadnc July 30, 2013

    Personally, I think it’s wonderful this event — and all the others — has been cancelled. There’s just something about this town that makes people want to pick it apart, and this way we’ll be able to go back to complaining that there’s nothing to do. With all those festivals, Asheville was dangerously close to being entertaining. It’s just like with the art museum — it was dangerously close to becoming something other than mediocre, but thankfully a hero arose to keep it down. Likewise these festivals… if there was too much to do around town, people would not be able to bitch about being bored, so we’ve got to crush fun wherever it is found. That’s the only way to keep the complaints going strong.

  5. Shorty July 30, 2013

    Well, I guess you could consider freak shows and drunk fests cultural events. Yes, sort of like visiting the Louvre, but with drunks, panhandlers, fights, drugs, snake handlers and street preachers.

    1. luther blissett July 30, 2013

      Is Candler holding its annual Staring Blankly Into Space Waiting For Something Interesting To Happen Festival this year?

      1. Shorty July 31, 2013

        I don’t know. Ask your mom.

  6. Laura July 30, 2013

    This sucks. I’ve enjoyed the Asheville Symphony since I was in the 5th grade; I looked forward to this outdoor concert every year.

  7. Stewart July 30, 2013

    Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday shortly after the massive unrest known as the Pullman Strike, which saw the federal government dispatch troops to battle the strikers. The confrontation resulted in much bloodshed, including the deaths of many workers. Passing this legislation was an attempt to repair ties with American workers.

    When I attended last year’s Labor Day Concert (which was rescheduled due to weather), I was dismayed that the musical program was filled with “patriotic” music and a salute to our troops. How sad and ironic that the Asheville Symphony chose Labor Day music honoring the very institution used against the labor movement.

    Salute the military on Veterans Day and wave your flags on the Fourth of July, if you wish. But Labor Day should be celebrated by honoring those who have been killed, beaten, intimidated and suffered economic hardship in the struggle for workers’ rights. Thanks to them, we have the eight-hour workday, lunch breaks, weekends, the minimum wage, safety standards in the workplace, health insurance and other benefits, an end to child labor, etc.

    Better this event be canceled than be an insult to labor once again.

    1. Yeppers July 30, 2013

      I totally agree. Mayday was the original workers holiday (still is, around the world), and the government switched it to Labor Day in order to temper the militancy of the occasion. But it’s pretty much a slap in the face to have it be celebrated with a military salute.

      It’s super important to remember who brought us the 8 hour day, and whatever economic and legal protections we do have from exploitation.

  8. Andrew July 30, 2013

    Very disappointing. I’ve been to that concert a couple times, it has been really wonderful. I feel the Park is woefully under utilized.

    1. Meg August 1, 2013

      @Andrew, I completely agree!

  9. Hal July 30, 2013

    Someone has to pay for the mayor’s trip to Paris

    1. luther blissett July 30, 2013

      Really? I bet you think gas still costs $0.47 a gallon.

  10. Jen Gordon July 30, 2013

    It is so very sad that the cultural events that have made Asheville the place it is no longer have enough support to sustain. As an event organizer, it is disheartening to feel that the efforts made to provide meaningful outdoor cultural programming is not valued enough to make efforts to help support the continuation of these cornerstone events. It’s unfortunate.

  11. Ron Frankl July 30, 2013

    Asheville seems to be changing in a hurry, perhaps even growing up. But is seems likely that the next phase will be a lot less fun than the one that’s now ending.


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