Remember how, a week or so ago, I told you that the Depot Town CDC, having been told by a few people in the community that the name “Ypsitucky Jamboree” was horribly offensive, were charged with coming up with a new name for their summer music festival? Well, they came up with one. After soliciting ideas from readers of this site, and others, the CDC board agreed to the name “Rustbelt Roots Revival.” Well, it would seem that still wasn’t good enough. From what I hear, the powers that be within the City said that the term “Rustbelt” carried with it too much of a negative connotation, and they asked that the name be changed yet again. (Ypsitucky, as you’ll recall, was said to have racist overtones.) In the end, it was agreed to call the event simply “The Jamboree.”
I joked in an earlier thread that we should call the event the “Blandsilanti Jamboree.” As it turns out, I wasn’t far off. In the attempt to find something inoffensive to everyone, we’ve come up with something that absolutely no one in the community could possibly feel passionately about…. Here, in evidence of that, is a comment just left on the site.
So Ypsitucky was a bit too edgy. Understood, but folks really need to lighten up around town.
Now Rust Belt is too edgy as well? Are you fucking serious? You see the term used in the NY Times, academic books, etc. It’s mostly used as a term for post-industrial cities in the Great Lakes region, not a derogatory name hardly these days. I’ve lived in the Rust Belt my whole life (and toured most of it’s big cities) and I have no problems what so ever with this title. In fact I think it would be even better and more accurate than Ypsitucky in so many ways.
So with Ypsitucky shot down and now Rust Belt can we officially declare Ypsilanti the lamest city in SE Michigan (certainly the Rust Belt) and possibly the entire state? Blandsilanti indeed!
Again, I wish the promoters of the event all the luck in the world as they try to generate interest in this festival, but, for the life of me, I can’t see how they can be successful marketing an event called “The Jamboree.” They might as well call it, “Music Event In Park.”
I can kind of see how some folks were upset by “Ypsitucky,” as the word was traditionally used as a pejorative against us, but “rustbelt”? Really? Are we so sensitive that we can’t hear the name of our City even mentioned in that context? Isn’t it time that we embrace reality? Like it or not, we’re in the rustbelt, folks. Just because we refuse to use the word, doesn’t mean it’s not true. I’d agree that we probably don’t want that single fact to define us, but we can’t pretend that it’s not true. Not mentioning it in a festival name doesn’t make it any less real. And what could be more positive than taking it, and owning it? What could possibly be better than “Rustbelt Revival”? That’s us taking ownership for something and elevating it. That’s us saying to the rest of the world, “Yeah, you think we can’t make it, but we can.” I love that. It’s the perfect message for right now. It’s honest. And it’s empowering… Instead, though, we’ve chosen to be home to “The Jamboree.” I feel sad for Ypsi tonight.