Macy's Music Festival: A decade later

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Macy's Music Festival organizers are anticipating record crowds at Paul Brown Stadium this year.

It has been ten years since the festival was moved to Detroit following a boycott of city businesses and events. The boycott stemmed from concerns over racial injustice following the death of Timothy Thomas who was shot by police in 2001.

Lifelong Cincinnati resident Barbara Carr has been going to the festival since her teens and even made the trek to Detroit when it moved in 2003 after being cancelled the year before.

"It was nice but it wasn't the same as being home," she admitted. "Cincinnati seems to try to roll the red carpet out."

At the time festival promoters were concerned about what the move would mean for the festival long term.

Ultimately, with the help of Macy's and the Bengals, the event returned to the Queen City in 2005.

"When we first started back at Paul Brown Stadium it was a smaller version of what I remembered from the past, and this year is going to be the first year that our seats are full," Fran told FOX19.

Santangelo's family has been promoting the festival for decades.

"Finally now it's reattaching itself to Cincinnati," she said. "I think we've got that branding back."

"Time has changed," Ron Dumas emphasized. "We went through some peaks and valleys from the Timothy Thomas era to the boycott era. The city has healed, and we're in the healing process. I think we've overcome a lot, and I think it's growing momentum."

Working the festival for decades, Ron Dumas has seen people from across the county re-embrace the event.

"There's things that go on in the city but when it comes to this week everybody's here to have a good time," he said.

Barbara, however, feels outside of the festival, for Cincinnatians, it is a different story.

"I feel like the people in Cincinnati that are actually living here, we haven't made any leaps and bounds," she told FOX19. "We've got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of young men that need a lot of help."

Everyone agrees, however, the future should be the focus.

"I don't think it can be forgot but I don't think we can stay in the past," Carr said.  "We have to go to the future. We want to make the future better, that's what I think. You can't do nothing about what happened we can only do something about what's going to happen tomorrow."

Fran recognizes the festival itself has a ways to go to recover from the loss of the momentum that occurred when the festival was moved, but she is confident they are on their way.

"I think by the crowds you'll see tonight you'll know how far we've come," Dumas pointed out.

"It feels great, just to see people coming down here," echoed Carr. "It's a beautiful day."

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