Takac and MIA team tackle Michigan St. bridge closure by expanding festival’s footprint
If there’s one thing Robby Takac has learned over the past two decades of presenting his Music is Art Festival to Buffalo audiences, it’s how to roll with the punches. Whether those punches came in the form of unfriendly weather, mildly hostile neighboring event committees, or a raging pandemic, they indeed did come. But Takac and his MIA team consistently greeted them with a grin and a shrug, and then got back to the job at hand.
This year, the job at hand will include dealing with the closing of a bridge that, over the past several seasons, allowed for foot traffic between the two locales housing the festival’s dozens of stages – Buffalo Riverworks and Buffalo Riverfest Park, the grounds of which are separated by the Buffalo River. But right on time, there was that grin and shrug once again, as Takac announced the 21st annual Music is Art Festival via Buffalo FM on Thursday morning. The event will indeed take place at Riverworks and Riverfest Park once again, this year on Saturday, September 9, between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m.
Standing along the Buffalo River, beneath skies darkened by the continued effects of the Canadian wildfires, Takac revealed the new signature poster for the event, and promised “a larger, more exciting” MIA Fest, featuring some 250 bands, 150 DJs and 50 exhibiting artists, appearing across 27 stages.
To help mitigate the effects of the Michigan St. bridge closing, 4 large shuttle boats will transport festival-goers between Riverworks and Riverfest Park throughout the event, and the neighborhood around Riverfest Park “will be opened up more,” with partnerships between MIA and local businesses and street closings allowing for increased musical action on that side of the Buffalo River. Takac also announced the inclusion of VIP packages for the first time in MIA history, offering parking, all-day boat shuttle passes, and “free beer and food all day” to potential purchasers.
“People aren’t gonna be freaked out at all (by the bridge closing),” Takac said. “They always find their way… The best side-effect of the bridge being closed is that we’re able to expand into these surrounding neighborhoods… this neighborhood is waking up! Every year, we’re gonna see more and more vitality here.”