Was it simply my imagination, or were uptown crowds smaller during this year’s CIAA week?
Everywhere I went, folks were talking about it. Some speculated that, after eight years in Charlotte, maybe the tournament had played out here. I’m not sure I agree with that, but something definitely was different this time around. (Ironically, the actual basketball games – even the early round matchups – appeared to draw some of the largest crowds I’ve seen.)
Crowds were especially thin at the Epicentre, where police and security guards last year had to turn folks away after the uptown venue reached capacity on Friday night. Nobody was being turned away this time.
I caught up with CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe and asked him about crowd estimates. Based on officer reports, he said, pedestrian and auto traffic were both off in uptown this year, but he said some of the outlying venues – the N.C. Music Factory, for example – were at capacity.
Local promoter Mike Kitchen suggested something similar. He said some of the partygoers who may have stayed uptown in previous years chose events this year that were hosted at the Music Factory, Cameo or Daisy Dukes. (I also heard reports that some venues that hosted big-name celebrities charged $100 or more for parking. Ouch! Who has that kind of money to rent a parking spot for a few hours?)
Officially, city leaders said more than 100,000 people “visited the center city for tournament events,” but that was only a rough, boilerplate estimate, and they did not compare this year’s attendance to previous years.
Unlike in years past, Monroe said, CMPD officers did not have to redirect uptown traffic this year to alleviate auto congestion – a sure indication. (Or maybe gas prices were simply too high for folks to cruise this year.)
What did you folks see out there? Where crowds smaller at the places where you partied?
On a related note, police reported no major incidents related to CIAA event anywhere in the city, although 21 adults were arrested between 5 p.m. Thursday and 3:45 a.m. Sunday. That was down from 31 arrests in 2012.
The various arrests broke down like this:
Alcohol Related: 4
Drug Related: 1
Strong Armed Robbery: 2
|Other Ways to Share|