After many years of calling Warner Park home, the large Independence Day celebration Rhythm and Booms will be moved to the downtown area to make the event more sustainable this summer.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said numerous environmental studies found the fireworks shot off during the event have had negative impacts on the local ecosystem, and representatives from Madison’s north side neighborhoods have decided to change the location.
Rita Kelliher, president of Madison Festivals Inc., which puts on the Rhythm and Booms, said she does not know how the move closer to downtown will affect the event turnout. She said she expects there to be approximately 150,000 people in attendance.
The event, which usually involves fireworks over Lake Mendota, will now see fireworks shot from barges over Lake Monona, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Kelliher said the event, being held on June 28 this year, will have other activities as well.
“Activities will be sort of like the Taste of Madison,” Kelliher said. “Except there will be two inbound lanes close to the water for sitting.”
There will be one area of vendors for the event specifically serving alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the day and evening. The same area will also provide live entertainment for attendees, Kelliher said. Music will be playing from 2 to 9 p.m. and again from 10 to 11 p.m. on John Nolen Drive and North Shore.
John Nolen Drive from the intersection of Blair Street and Williamson Street to Olin Park, as well as John Nolen Drive from Broom Street to Wilson Street will be closed for the event. North Shore from John Nolen Drive to Bedford Street will be closed for the event too.
However, Resnick said traffic congestion is not expected to be any worse than what it had been at its previous location in years past.
The new downtown location for the event will be easier to access for the police and fire departments as well as event goers with additional city ramps for parking, according to Kelliher.
She said there were not enough spaces for parking, so the necessary police and firefighters could not safely get to the event while it was hosted at the previous location.
Resnick said the event will be beneficial for downtown businesses, but it will be a loss for establishments on the North side.
“It was one of the bigger events on the North side,” Resnick said. “The first time I came to Madison was when I was in elementary school, and I came to Rhythm and Booms and I was at Warner Park and fell in love with the city,” Resnick said.
[Photo via Flickr user John Benson]