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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


WSUM looks to manage stage at Mifflin

While police say a sponsor would tighten security during the block party, no organization has stepped up for the May 2 event.[/media-credit]

Despite recent bad luck the 2009 Mifflin Street Block Party has had acquiring sponsorship, the University of Wisconsin’s WSUM 91.7 confirmed Thursday the station is looking to potentially manage a soundstage at the event.

According to Dave Black, administrative program manager at WSUM, the radio station has been approached to possibly take over a soundstage at the block party, and the station is taking the proposal into consideration.?

“We are definitely considering it,” Black said. “Mifflin Street’s a great thing, and we want to help in any way we could, especially if we could help the neighborhood and make it a big success.”


Black said if WSUM receives approval from the university, the soundstage would be run like many other events the station has managed, including the Snake on the Lake festival.?

However, because the university may have discouraged the Wisconsin Union Directorate from sponsoring Mifflin, Black says their decision may preclude WSUM as well.

On April 1, WUD turned down the chance to sponsor the event citing a lack of time and money. However, Mifflin’s most recent woes occurred Wednesday when DCNY PRO, a local music and event production company, also decided not to sponsor the event, also citing a lack of time and funding.

WSUM has yet to seek the university’s approval.?

“We’re obviously running out of time,” Black said. “We have to do something soon if [we] want to do it, [but] we’re open to it.”

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, would not comment in detail on the possibility of WSUM running the soundstage for the event because plans are still tentative.

“It’s a work in progress,” Verveer said. “I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that we’re going to be able to pull this off given the certain amount of time we have to work with.”

Although the involvement of WSUM at Mifflin is a possibility, Black stressed the radio station is in no way looking to be a sponsor of the event.

Lt. Kristin Roman of the Madison Police Department said a sponsor or organizer of the block party could make Mifflin a better-organized and more universal event. A stage, food and other amenities — which could make the party more substantial — can only be brought forward with the help of an organization.

Recently, the Mifflin Street Block Party has been “lost or obscured,” she added.

“[An organizer] provides a beginning, a middle, an end and a focus, and that’s what’s missing in many ways from the Mifflin Street event,” Roman said. “In the history of the event, it was a much more globalized-type event [with a] purpose.”

Joel DeSpain, spokesperson for the Madison Police Department, said for decades a key component of Mifflin was political activism, adding it was not just a block party where people became “shockingly” inebriated.

“It was a time to talk, a time to get together, there was music and stages,” DeSpain said. “It was more organized at that time, and I think a lot of the problem associated with Mifflin the last couple of years really came out when there was not a time of sponsorship or activism; it sort of became a right of passage to party on this day on this street.”

The MPD wants people to have a fun time on May 2, but if people start to act as catalysts for bad behavior, there will be police intervention, DeSpain said.

The MPD has been meeting with Mifflin residents since February, and a major concern was the noise ordinance, Roman said.?

Without a set band or soundstage, Roman said people who host private bands, whose music can be heard three doors down, may be subject to noise violation ticketing.

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