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KCMO musicians shared songs Wednesday night on the Royals stadium project

Musicians against stadium
Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 09:45:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local artists have always asserted it's the culture they helped create that's become the beating heart of the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District.

A big concern many musicians have shared in recent weeks is what will happen to smaller, local performance venues in the Crossroads like the Brick or recordBar if they get upstaged by a new Royals stadium?

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The proposed stadium was top of mind Wednesday night at recordBar.

The message of the performance was let people know what you think about the new stadium and what it would mean to the area.

Bob Walkenhorst has been singing and performing in Kansas City for the last four decades.

Walkenhorst said the culture of the Crossroads Arts District is at risk.

“I can remember when this area was not like that," he said, describing the major development of the area. "A lot of people have put in a lot of work to make this a thriving arts and music district and it has treated us so well. And now it’s time for us to speak up for these people who have done all that hard work. We want them to stay here.”

He's not so sure the stadium and nearby venues can truly harmonize.

“It may not go away, but it will certainly be compromised," Walkenhorst said.

There's a financial concern beyond the cultural shifts a stadium could bring.

There have been many stories of businesses in the Kansas City area negatively impacted by road closures and construction.

Center Cut Records President Patrick Sprehe says small music venues generally run on tight margins.

"On a good night, on any night, it's a very tough business," he said. "These days, I've just seen them dwindle down."

He worries the process of building a stadium next door and restricting traffic could be a financially fatal squeeze if people can't make it to the venues.

It isn't just a problem for the businesses or customers, but for musicians honing their craft.

“I would argue this is really the only place in Kansas City where you have a cluster of numerous smaller venues," Sprehe said.

The Crossroads Arts District is a melody, but changing a note, moving it, or erasing it can change the whole tune.