So there I was last Friday near the Freedom of Expression wall, gathering signatures for my City School Board run, when Henry Graff comes bounding up with a microphone and cameraman to ask my opinion about private boundaries on the east end of the mall.
Up until a few years ago, the performance space at the east end of the mall was publicly-owned and the city would use the stage for free public concerts. The venue was cooperatively run by a coalition of local merchants called the Charlottesville Downtown Federation and it successfully brought attention and traffic to that end of the mall. The original Fridays after 5 usually featured great local acts and helped to showcase the best of Charlottesville.
In 2003, apparently due to declining sponsorship, the CDF began bringing in larger “name” acts and charging an admission fee. Two years later, the Pavilion was sold to a private promoter and our mall became home to the world’s largest lobster trap.