At Stanton’s Sheet Music there is always something to talk about, and one of our favorite topics is our beloved Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Every summer, the CSO runs a series of pops concerts called “Picnic with the Pops.” This popular series brings thousands of people to see the symphony in an outdoor setting: to hear music under the stars and enjoy their own personal picnic basket.
This 28-year favorite of Columbus residents has been held on the front lawn of Chemical Abstracts, just North of the OSU campus, along the banks of the Olentangy River. However, this year it was moved to the new downtown Columbus green space, the Columbus Commons. The Downtown Development Corporation torn down the vacant eyesore that was previously the City Center mall, and replaced it with a downtown park. Developers and donors got involved to raise $5 million dollars to put up a permanent band shell and and a state of the art sound system so that Columbus Commons can regularly host a variety of concerts and performances.
So how did it go this year? One of the biggest concerns was that people would not like fighting traffic into the heart of downtown having to pay $5.00 for parking (parking at Chemical Abstracts was free). There were also the difficulty of transitioning from a 54-acre lawn down to a 9-acre urban park. Would there be enough space for the sponsored tables and everyone else to sit in the grass? There was also an increase in ticket prices from $20 in 2011 to $25 in 2012.
Despite all these changes, “Picnic with the Pops” concert attendance was up 20% this year; clearly CSO audiences are responding positively to this new venue!