Public Square - Staff Pick
Best Reason We Still Have a Hoedown in Motown
Tim Roberts, program director, WYCD-FM
Published: April 25, 2012
The Downtown Hoedown celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer, meaning Detroit undeniably was country before country was cool. But think about it: How many cities south of the Mason-Dixon would relish the idea of stealing away such a massive outdoor musical tradition and claiming it as their own — indeed, believe it should be their birthright? One of the prime movers behind keeping the country kickin' here is Roberts, who this year was named Numero Uno among all country radio programmers in America, according to the publication Radio Ink. He's considered one of the most powerful people in country music and a native Detroiter, so much of what happens surrounding keeping the Hoedown here — including its move to the more spacious and easier-to-access Comerica Park this year — conforms to Roberts' rules of order. And even though the formerly free festival is a ticketed, paid event for the first time, the alternative — thousands of visitors staying away from downtown the first weekend in June, and keeping their cash in their pockets — sounds as sad as a country ballad.