Saturday night was kind of a wash in a lot of ways. I came away satisfied with two or three pics, though the Waterfire event didn’t live up to expectations this year. First, three shots from the evening I kind of liked.

Kansas City Waterfire, 2010 - 1

Kansas City Waterfire, 2010 - 2

Bagpiper with the Plaza crowds on Saturday night

Alright – for my summation. Concerning the Waterfire event on Brush Creek – a public art/performance show first started in Providence Rhode Island that sprung up here in KC as well over the last few years. The prior years’ Waterfire shows took place well into October if I recall. By then the weather was far less humid and stifling than it often still remains in KC in mid-September. So trudging around the creek banks with sweat dripping onto my new camera was my first irritation, as mid September is too early to conduct this event. I’ve seen people comment on prior years’ Waterfire shows. They thought it was either cool and creative , or they just flat out thought it was silly. My own opinion was I liked the “atmosphere and moodiness” of it, so it’s been on my good side, and always makes for fun photography subject material.

Scheduling it in mid September when it’s completely common to have lingering summer heat and humidity was not smart. Secondly, there were storms coming through Kansas City that day since the early afternoon. They held off starting the event until 8pm, and shortly after it did start we all received word we’re not supposed to actually “walk” on the Brush Creek sidewalks due to high water concerns. Oh, and there was a Flash Flood Warning. Someone must have missed the memo about how lovely Brush Creek can get during flooding conditions. It would have appeared completely logical to postpone to the rain date, but they tried to go forward with the whole production that night – a gamble which crashed and burned when another round of rain storms showed up and they’d already committed to running the event that night. The Plaza then become quite a traffic jam as everyone was trying to get gone in fairly heavy rain showers.

As I was on my way out of the event, I decided to spend a few minutes trying to get  a decent shot of the bagpiper playing at 47th and Broadway. The better ISO capabilities of my new 5D Mark 2 over my original version 5D aided greatly in this kind of low light shot. Right after that I got back to my car just as it was beginning to pour.

Summation: Waterfire: I like you, but be smart about things. Don’t schedule in September when there’s too much potential for the heat to be irritating, and don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution concerning rain date postponements. I’m glad I got a few pics of the event despite the fiasco, but it would have been better for everyone concerned to save them all the irritation and to just postpone to the rain date (sorry if I’m playing Captain Obvious with that last statement).

3 replies
  1. sheri
    sheri says:

    Great pics!! Thank you for posting.
    Sucks that it got rained out like that. We’ve gone the last couple years and really enjoyed it. This year, I got called into work last minute and couldn’t attend, and was really bummed (though like you, surprised it wasn’t being held in October as usual). Too bad they didn’t hold off because of the rain 🙁
    Ah well, maybe next year! Sigh …

  2. Paul Burns
    Paul Burns says:

    The past two years, I’ve had to work on the night WaterFire was scheduled. This was the first time I had the evening off, and had been canvassing for the Carnahan campaign all afternoon until 6pm. When I got down to the Plaza (between 6:30 & 7pm, the scheduled start of the event) the PA equipment and speakers were all shrouded in plastic bags, the setups from earlier in the day were being struck, and it had all the appearances of a cancellation, so I left. With the onrushing storms, I thought they couldn’t possibly go through with the planned performances. Hence my “Water 1, Fire 0” post on FB. Now that I hear that they attempted to proceed, in spite of the severe weather and the Flash Flood Warnings, I seriously question the sanity and wisdom of the promoters. WTF were they thinking?! I was in a flash flood on Brush Creek several years ago, with Gorilla Theatre, during its production of The Wasps. We barely had time to get the electronics and props loaded into the truck before the wall of water descended on Wheeler Amphitheater and completely swamped the playing area. One of the scariest, most adrenaline-pumped experiences I’ve had, and NOT wanting to repeat. A pox upon the event organizers!

  3. elise
    elise says:

    Thanks for the update on Waterfire. Yours is the only clear report I’ve found online in a week. I’m disappointed to hear that they went through with what must have been a half-hearted performance. Why do this, when there was a rain date — in good old October — scheduled.

    Brought my camera down there but nothing was going on. Beat it outta there when all that lightning showed up. Nice shots, glad I found your blog.


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