Excellent ‘Pops on the River’ 2018 Concert begged for yesteryear

Written by: Colin Wood- “No Kidding!”

I was hesitant to write a review for ‘The Pops On The River’ Concert.

Kevin Hogan of the Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, NY wrote an article recently regarding the return of Pops on the River after a 24 year hiatus and 15 annual concerts that began in 1980, the first of 7, I attended. You will find in the link to his article this cartoon below depicting many of the feelings shared this year. It’s humorous. This article takes a facetious look at the set up past concerts, for the most part.

My son and I who walked 2 miles to see the event, and 2 miles home, only stayed until 7:30 pm and heard the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums, who were phenomenal, as always. I convinced my son the Pops would be even more amazing, and he wanted to stay for a little while.

I have no doubt that the Pops were fantastic as well. However, the new set up was horrible, to say the least.

Music aficionados reported to me that the sound for the concert could barely be heard as well as cutting in and out.

The concert platform was not on a raft in the river, like the old days, which used to offer a widely spanning view and many more areas to sit and view the concert from above the river. In the old days, the bank wall was open to sitting on, and you could throw down a cover just about anywhere but the bridge and sidewalks in order to view the extravaganza.

This was not an option this year. The concert platform was placed higher than most viewing areas, and tucked up against the bank, actually reducing the viewing area, and forcing everyone to be on the same level as the pops, or below them, offering terrible viewing points no matter where you were, unless within the first couple rows of viewing the platform. The crowd spanned to the sides more so than in this picture, but were still just a morsel of the crowds of the early 80’s.

There were hardly any vendors, and they were set up on opposite side of the bridge from the concert, and unless you meandered over that way through the crowd, you’d never know they were there.

No doubt there were nice parts to the occasion for some people, up close and 2.5 to 2 hours early, as we were an hour early.

However, when comparing it to the Pops On The River of yesteryear, which was undoubtedly less costly, there was no comparison. I looked forward to it every year as a young boy and young teen, and I was so excited for my son to have the same experience, as well as many other Broome County residents who hadn’t experienced it before. But, it just didn’t cut the cheese! I heard several (at least 3) older generation folks surrounding us the half hour we were there, that it just wasn’t the same, and they couldn’t hear or see the pops like we used to on the river.

In the early 80’s the sound was incredible and was heard around the whole surrounding area, and the view of the pops on the river was amazing for all to see, and it was horribly missed this time around!

I donated to this event and still have yet to receive my sunglasses and t-shirt for the level I donated. However, I would still, and will still donate to it next year. It is still a great event for families, regardless, and to hear music that we just don’t hear on a daily a basis in the general public anymore. Unless you listen to the great Bill Snyder on WSKG radio.

I hope, next year, if I visit from Flordia, the set up returns to the river raft, and that more time and more sensible planning goes into the event, which I can’t omit the high cost of from this review. I am quite sure cost comes into affect on where they placed the concert this year.

It seemed to be well attended, despite the small area they allowed for surrounding and viewing the concert, but it was less than half of the number of people who used to attend in the 80’s. That should definitely be analyzed and better marketed and advertised for next year, so the crowd is bigger and much more inviting as it used to be!

I made the mistake of my setting my son up for what it used to be, and when we turned out to be the only ones in site to bring a sheet for the grass/ground, we ended up buried behind a bunch of chairs, on the sidewalk court st, and NO view of the concert platform. My son was uncomfortable after 30 minutes, although he loves our heritage of Celtic bagpipe music, as much as I do. I know he loves the music the pops were to play, but he was so let down by the view, and not being close to how I described it once was, and sitting on a sidewalk, buried below everyone else, and behind at least 6 rows already, he convinced me to head home early. With all my health issues that make being out in public and active difficult as it is, I didn’t argue or hesitate beyond a few comical and fake emotional attempts to get him to change his mind.

So, we enjoyed our walk home, then took in some fireworks from Park Ave when we heard them, and I played the Tchaikovsky’s, ‘1812 Overture’ for myself after we went back inside. That is the part I wait for at the end of this great annual event.

MUST SEE Binghamton Philharmonic Upcoming Events:

Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra at LUMA

Sep 7 — Sep 8 · LUMA Projection Arts Festival · Binghamton, New York

Sep 24 — U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince at Binghamton University

Fri 7:30 PM · Anderson Center for the Performing Arts · Vestal, New York

Sep 29 Scheherazade

Producer/Talent — @PopentS; Freelance Designer and Writer. Wood Writing & Design; Contributor — @NB_originals; @HOHmpmagazine; @Vocal; @Medium @Flipboard