Successful start for downtown Rhythm and Booms, but still room f - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Successful start for downtown Rhythm and Booms, but still room for improvement

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MADISON (WKOW)-- One day after this year's Rhythm and Booms festival in downtown Madison, organizers are ecstatic about how the event played out.

"We're very happy with how the event went," Marketing Director Brodie Birkel says. "I didn't get much sleep last night, because we were busy cleaning everything up and celebrating our success, but I'm pretty excited and awake right now."

The event moved downtown after being held at Warner Park for 21 years. The new location was just one of many controversial changes to the event, but organizers say preliminary feedback shows those changes paid off.

Birkel says his biggest concern going into the event was the heavy amount of traffic coming in and out of downtown. He and his fellow organizers worked with Madison police to come up with a plan to accommodate the high volume of vehicles. He was pleasantly surprised how fast things went.

"We're ecstatic we were able to move the traffic in and out that quickly. The planning worked," Birkel says.
Despite the successes Birkel saw during Saturday night's event, he has already started writing down improvements he would like to make for next year.

"Any time you're doing an event for the first time there's something you can do better. We're always looking forward and trying to make our events better and more convenient," Birkel says.

Some of the ideas include moving around some of the food vendors, possibly adding some new entertainment attractions and letting people into Monona Terrace earlier in the day.

"We want to extend the hours so people can come and go throughout the day and set up earlier for the fireworks," Birkel says.

The cleanup effort after the fireworks display went just as smoothly. About a dozen volunteers were able to clean all eight of the parks in downtown Madison within a few hours.

"There really isn't a lot of mess left in the parks," Park Supervisor Lisa Laschinger says. "People were very responsible and generally did a great job of cleaning up after the themselves."

Technicians with the fireworks crew say the show couldn't have gone much better. The fireworks launched properly and were perfectly in sync with the music. Event organizers agree but say blind spots emerged in several city recommended spots.

"From the feedback all along John Nolen Drive, it was just a fantastic view," Birkel says. "However, we've heard some of the other viewing areas people chose weren't spectacular and we hope that next year they realize that John Nolen Drive is really the best viewing of these fire works."

Event organizers received so much feedback about Rhythm and Booms on Sunday that their website crashed and was unavailable for a short amount of time. The site is back up and running and workers are encouraging spectators to let them know what worked and what didn't work during last night's event.   
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