Is it time for RibFest to stop charging admission? Don’t hold your breath.


Once again I saw a letter to the editor complaining about the charge-fest that goes on each year at RibFest, or as I nicknamed it in its early days ‘RIP-FEST’.

Some would argue that you have to pay admission to pay for the bands, and to some degree, I can understand that argument. But after you pay for parking and clearly overpriced beverages and food, don’t you think a little of those profits could go towards making the event FREE or at least very affordable (like $2 a person)?

JazzFest accomplishes this every year, and ironically the food and beverages are not even close to the prices RibFest charges. It also makes me chuckle each year when people complain about the cost of food at JazzFest or the bands. First off, you paid nothing to hear the music, and if you are concerned about the food costs, eat a boloney sandwich at home before you come.

It is pretty obvious why ‘RIP-FEST’ is so expensive, it is ran by SMG. Just like events they put on at the EC, they will suck every last penny out of the attendee they can, while pocketing the profits (that they send out of town) and leaving the good taxpayers of Sioux Falls footing the mortgage payments to the facilities they run. As far as SMG is concerned, they are ALWAYS in the black, and I believe them, while leaving all of us in the red.

Maybe I am too naïve to ask SMG to actually give something in return to the people that makes their business profitable. It’s hard to give when you continually take, take, take.



#1 Music Lover on 06.13.16 at 12:33 pm

Speaking of Jazzfest, it’s a great event, I really enjoy it, and I’m sure the vendors do bring in big bucks.

Does the city report how much it costs them to support Jazzfest?

With all the parks employees to prepare and clean up the park after? With all the extra police on duty for security? With fire there for first-aid and fireworks?

It can’t be cheap.

#2 l3wis on 06.13.16 at 1:51 pm

I think about 5 years ago, Rob Joyce (SFJB society) had to come to the city council and drewl all over them and thanking the city and the SFPD for all they did for JF. The city estimated at that time the extra staff for the event cost them around $8,000. There seemed to be a few peeps with the city that were upset about this cost, and a veiled threat there to stop with the traffic direction (which ironically would be impossible, because they would have a much bigger mess not directing it). I think Rob pointed out the tax revenue brought in from the event much out weighs the $8,000 the SFPD may or may not spend.

#3 Music Lover on 06.13.16 at 4:33 pm

I’m probably way off, but that seems low considering the hourly wage most city employees make and on overtime, the number of people involved (3 departments, not just police), and the amount of time it takes to clean up afterward.

#4 Blasphemo on 06.14.16 at 8:42 pm

“A fool and his money are soon parted”. Nobody is forced to attend RibFest, and I’m hard pressed to understand why anyone would.

The entertainment lineup for any given day is promoted as “4pm-11pm”. No one can confirm in advance approximately what time of day a given recording act will take the stage. Who in their right mind wants to hang out for 5-6 hours at an outdoor event like this to ensure they see the act they’re interested in, much less pay parking and a gate admission only to find out THEN that the act they wanted to see has already finished their performance!

Most all the food is messy and takes two hands to eat it – ribs or big, sloppy sandwiches. Priced high and served on a paper plate, for the privilege of sitting down on a dirty picnic table outdoors in the gusty prairie wind to eat it. Somehow you have to manage to keep one hand or an elbow on the paper plate at all times to ensure the wind doesn’t blow the plate full of beans & coleslaw in your lap while you take a bite of your beef or pork! Then, try to find a nonexistent place to wash your hands and face with running water after eating this sloppy repast. OMG. Talk about an overpriced, ill-conceived, poorly executed event.

There is no comparison between RibFest and JazzFest. Jazzfest has a published entertainment schedule, groomed grassy field to sit on, no admission and nearby free parking options, plus reasonably priced food and drink.

As for the cost of JazzFest to the City, JazzFest wisely organizes an army of VOLUNTEERS to take care of much of the trash/recyclables cleanup. This does not all fall on paid Parks & Rec employees.