Urban Life


Jazz in the Park brings together a variety of people who may differ on the new ban on bringing in outside alcohol, but remain united by one main commonality: music.

And tonight the music blaring from the huge speakers flanking the stage came from the American Afrobeat Band from the lower east side of New York City, Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra.

The power of the five member group propelled some spectators to an open space in front of the stage where the pounding beat amplified through nearby speakers drowned out all conversation.

The prohibition against outside alcohol passed three years ago, impacting everyone attending the weekly Jazz in the Park series that runs from June to September.

Julie Enslow has never missed a Thursday night in Cathedral Park Square. Even though it has become increasingly crowded, she said it is fun to be around all the different people.

“The [alcohol] rule hasn’t really affected me, I just ignore it,” Enslow said. “People shouldn’t have to pay. They should be able to come and enjoy the music.”

Alcohol vender Don Ellingsen disagrees, seeing value in the new rule since the proceeds help pay for operation costs.

“People understand that [the rule] is needed to help the event. [Jazz in the Park] costs around $18,000 a night to put it on and people don’t want to jeopardize that,” Ellingsen said.

Carla Weston came to Jazz in the Park for the first time this year and has no problem with buying alcohol on site. She knows the rule and the reason for it.

Steve Mayer, an event security officer, often enforces the rule by ordering people to dump outside beverages.

“I’ve found a number of people who claim not to know about the rule, although most are accepting and support the effort to keep Jazz in the Park profitable,” he said.

Some people praised the additional security.

“We appreciate Milwaukee’s finest patrolling because it gives a safe presence here,” said Jan Meihsner.

Meihsner’s husband, Hardy, emphatically agreed.

Tina Byrd came because of her love for jazz music and as a way to relax and enjoy the night with her son and daughter.

So does four-year Jazz in the Park fan Ashley Guyton.

“There’s always great music and it’s a nice environment. I’ve never seen any problems and I like to enjoy the nice weather and relax with friends and family.”  | UV


Jazz is still jazz despite alcohol ruling| Brianna Stubler

“People understand that [the rule] is needed to help the event. ~ Ellingsen