Last weekend’s first ever Sewickley Art and Music Festival was a great success for the village and a lot of fun for our residents and visitors. Everything came together…food, beer, community and especially music. We won’t soon forget the festival’s rock n’ roll conclusion on Saturday night. Even the weather contributed one more summer forecast.
In order that we can continue to improve community events in the village, we wanted to find out what festival goers thought about the event itself and Explore Sewickley’s events generally, so we asked. Our intrepid reporter conducted nearly 50 in-person interviews right on Broad Street (thanks to all who participated) to get the scoop.
Here are some of our findings:
- Nearly 50% of festival attendees were from outside the borough. Many of them had visited on some other occasion for shopping, dining, or to participate in some other village event.
- Everyone loves the flat, blocked off streets providing a safe and comfortable venue…particularly for children.
- Food trucks are fantastic…more trucks and more variety please!
- Village events provide a great opportunity to shop at village stores and eat in village restaurants. Please stay open shopkeepers! Many of those interviewed showed off their shopping bags and named their dinner destinations. One woman said, “This is the only time I can get my husband in the stores so we can shop together.”
- Having artwork in the shops made walking Beaver St. and stopping in various stores fun and encouraged shopping for art as well as regular shop goods.
- Music is a big draw…Saturday night was much anticipated and the performances were enthusiastically enjoyed.
- Many visitors spoke about Sewickley’s charm and the small-town ambiance…residents uniformly talked about walking everywhere.
- Logistics and accommodations matter…more tables and chairs for diners, and a few more porta-johns would be great too.
- Many non-Sewickley guests commented on the need for better advertising announcing our events.
- One couple put it this way, “Sewickley is more than a feeling. It has so many great things to be proud of.”
Some of these observations are not new, but they do help to explain the great reception the inaugural Art and Music Festival received. We can’t wait ‘til next year.
For many, the notion of a village conjures up quaint images of a time gone by…tree-lined neighborhoods surrounding a business district of small shops all supported by a local government and accompanying community services (e.g., fire and police, library, post office, hospitals, churches, etc.). Anthropologists point out that early American villages were formed by locally homogeneous groups of people in rural and semi-rural, undeveloped areas to meet their common needs. In the process, a social community was formed that represented the shared values and interests of the residents themselves, thus reinforcing a bond between village neighbors.
Clearly, Sewickley’s formative years in the late 18th and early 19th centuries followed this pattern as travelers and adventurers in the new America moved west from Pittsburgh…by river, road and rail. The village itself grew to provide the increasing demands for goods and services required by both the country manors on the hill and the households of village residents. By the time Sewickley was incorporated in 1853, it had already been through a substantial amount of development and evolution – a process that continues today. But even as change has come in both small and large measures, the Sewickley village still reflects its history and traditions while nurturing its own unique identity as a place that celebrates a commitment to a rich, rewarding community life.
Today, Sewickley is a modern urban village that is defined by many of the features sociologists consider common to this form:
- Small and intimate setting
- Unique identity
- Designed for social interaction
- Locally driven and locally responsive
- Resourced for functionality
- Mixed, heterogeneous community
Taken together, these features highlight the basis for the Sewickley village’s continued vitality and success in the 21st century. They also serve as a foundation for our future evolution toward the village we will become in the years ahead.