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King of the Queen
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Following a melee last year that led to 17 arrests and because of ever-rising costs, WBT Radio said Wednesday it will move its annual Fourth of July fireworks out of uptown to Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, where security can be better arranged.

It will mean the end of decades of fireworks over the spires of uptown and a holiday gathering that has grown to attract an estimated 80,000 people each Independence Day.

"A lot of people want to make something out of the skirmish last year that had nothing to do with `SkyShow'," said Rick Jackson, WBT general manager. "It wasn't close to our event."

But Jackson said the disturbance raised questions about security and became another issue in the increasingly complicated and expensive event that WBT has sponsored annually since 1976.

"We needed to get it into a safer venue where we could control it better," he said. Organizers were unable to find another venue in Charlotte that could handle the crowds and provide a sizable safe zone for fireworks fragments to fall.

In 2005, after the fireworks show ended, police had to call in reinforcements uptown after about 2,000 people became unruly near Trade and Tryon streets.

What started as a fight between two teenagers over a girl at the transit center grew into general unrest, authorities said, when a group of people began throwing fireworks into the crowd and blocking traffic.

One person was shot in the hand, 17 were arrested and more than 100 extra officers were called in to restore order.

Jackson said the station bore the $375,000 cost of SkyShow, paying for fireworks, off-duty police officers, fire protection, parking lots, stages, cleanup, entertainment and other expenses.

"For us, it's an economic question," Jackson said. He said executives began talking last year about changing the show because of the cost and the burden the event imposes on WBT's 60-person staff. "We're not professional event planners, we're radio people," he said.



STUPID SHIT!
 

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The fireworks over the skyline were a beautiful thing. They should have probably moved the show to Concord or somewhere else besides Fort Mill, since the Carowinds display will be going on around the same time.
 

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The comments on this article at Charlotte.com, the Charlotte Observer's website, are a riot. This was my favorite:

As a lifelong Fort Millian, I am sick of the flight from Charlotte. Our schools are packed with white flight, our countryside is packed with houses less than 20 feet apart, and now we have to put up with fireworks. Charlotte, get your act together, I can not stand your problems either.
 

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krazeeboi said:
The comments on this article at Charlotte.com, the Charlotte Observer's website, are a riot. This was my favorite:

As a lifelong Fort Millian, I am sick of the flight from Charlotte. Our schools are packed with white flight, our countryside is packed with houses less than 20 feet apart, and now we have to put up with fireworks. Charlotte, get your act together, I can not stand your problems either.
Yeah, I thought a lot of them were funny myself, especially the ones that bordered on pure racism, there was one that even called for a race-war, HILARIOUS! :bash: The problem is the fact that I think this will confim to the rest of the world that Charlotte is nothing but a backwards, hick town that cannot handle the big time. C'mon, if CMPD cannot handle large crowds, then what good are they? Of course, what do you expect from a radio station that runs Rush Limbaugh, and has that idiot Jason Lewis, who might as well be from the Rhino Times, who thinks that everything is bad, sometimes I wonder if the Rhino Times is a sponser of WBT. Then, they cater to that suburban South Charlotte demographic that thinks that uptown is as dangerous as Detroit or Newark, NJ, go figure! :weirdo: Hopefully, there will be a sponser out there that will be able to promote an event uptown for the fourth.
 

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^ The thing is, CMPD did handle the event within reason. The problem was that bus service wasn't scheduled to handle the overflow crowds, and some wanna-be gangstas just had to start trouble in a crowd. It's one of those things that's going to happen every now and then, no matter how well you prepare (except for the lack of buses) and no matter how hysterically you react to it.

I think it's a major mistake to have moved this thing to Fort Mill, for three reasons:

1) Nobody wants to go to fucking Fort Mill to see anything. If the stadium and Carowinds weren't down there, it would be 100% bedroom community.

2) The event is going to be incorporated into a Knights game, so it's not even a standalone event anymore. Plus, the number of tickets available for the game isn't even close to the number of people who attended the uptown events.

3) Why move it across the state line? WBT is basically exporting tourist money out of uptown Charlotte and into SC coffers. That's detrimental to the entire city, and especially to restaurants and other businesses that thrive on big center-city crowds.

And I don't buy this business about "Charlotte doesn't need special events anymore". This isn't Chicago, it's Charlotte. This will hurt the city and hopefully will return to uptown once WBT pulls its head out of its rear end.
 

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King of the Queen
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
who goes to a knights baseball game anyway?

soon enough we can kick WBT in the ass with the knights moving uptown. :)
 

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Git your damn shit together Charlotteans! It's hell for the Fort Millians living next to Little Nicaragua!
 

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Yeah I wonder if they will follow the Knights uptown in a couple of years. I wonder why WBT didn't want to find a co-sponsor to help with the costs of this event.
 

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It just seems to me that it was more of a combination of Mayor McCrory's personal beef with WBT and also WBT catering to that suburban crowd that wants to find any and every excuse in the world to avoid going uptown, in my opinion. Like I said, I hope that there would be some sort of festivities taking place uptown on the 4th, because it would be a shame for uptown to not have anything happening there becuase of stupid politics! :stupid: Charlotte does not need any negative publicity to confirm to the rest of America and the world that it's nothing more than a backwards, hick town! It's about time that Charlotte finally grow out of that image and finally become a real cosmopolitan city.
 

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The Observer article on Thursday shed a little light on the situation, noting that WBT's expenses have more than doubled over the last few years. The root problem seems to be that nobody has stepped forward to help sponsor the event, which seems a little crazy considering the scale and popularity.

But at the end of the day, it's not WBT's responsibility to provide security for the bus station. That's a city thing and it's not fair for WBT to get all the heat for that debacle.
 

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I hate to point out the obvious, but just because WBT isn't paying for a fireworks display doesn't mean Charlotte can't have one.

After seeing all the "outrage" that the show was cancelled, it shouldn't be difficult to get people to <GASP!> pay their own way on the beloved event.
 

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^ They're trying to put something like that together, but (according to a couple of Observer articles) the logistics of buying and setting up a fireworks display generally takes about 6 months, not 2. Had the city known about the change in December, I'm sure an alternative would've been planned.
 

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Do y'all think that Lincoln Financial taking over Jefferson-Pilot, which owned WBT, could have played a role in their decision to move the skyshow from uptown to Knights Stadium this year? Also, I think this can be a blessing in disquise and this can open up the door to other possibilities. NC Music Factory is scheduled to open next year, if I'm correct. Maybe they can start having an all day 4th of July CityFest type of festival there and top it off with a fireworks show later on in the evening to tie into the festivities, just an idea!
 
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