Laclede's Landing Concert Series Brings New Life To St. Louis Riverfront
Last year, Drew Jameson would drive around St. Louis with his morning coffee to stake out areas underutilized by the city. The former talent buyer and club promoter had one mission in mind: to find parking lots that he could turn into outdoor concert venues.
This month, he relaunched his concert series at a spot with one of the most impressive views yet — Laclede's Landing on the St. Louis riverfront.
“When you're down there, you're looking at the stage: There's a sliver of the Arch behind you, there are both bridges sitting behind you, Eads and the MLK Bridge; and there's a beautiful river, riverfront to your left. And at night the moon has just been shining down on everybody,” the owner of Jamo Presents told St. Louis on the Air.
“If you can appreciate city views, this is just as good as they can get.”
During his quest to host concerts on the riverfront, Jameson also gained a greater awareness and understanding of the neighborhood, which included the community of homeless people living in informal encampments in the area.
Earlier this month, people living near the riverfront were fearful that they’d be evicted from their encampment to accommodate the concert space. Jameson said that was never his intention.
“I've gotten to know the riverfront community very much over the past several weeks — we're getting along very well,” Jameson said. “There were never any efforts to evict, so to speak, anybody, but there was a misunderstanding.”
Part of that misunderstanding was noted in a recent press release from Tent Mission STL, a local outreach group created last year to help provide emergency tent sheltering and supplies for people in the city without housing.
Tent Mission’s statement noted that Jameson didn’t touch base with advocates sooner due to instructions from Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office.
“I think it comes down to this: I can't accommodate any actual demands with city resources,” Jameson said. “I'm a very small company — I don't have much pull, so to speak, in this big political-clout-type way with the mayor's office. So it was my understanding that there were negotiations being had and I would have been getting in the way, and that was what was asked of me, was to not get in the way.”
Since then, Jameson has donated $500 toward serving the riverfront homeless community. And during each concert this fall, Jamo Presents is including a community-run booth space to educate concertgoers about homelessness concerns and collect direct-support donations for the community.
On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Jameson also talked with host Sarah Fenske about how this concert series, which includes several free shows, is part of a larger effort to revive downtown St. Louis.
“Downtown St. Louis has a bit of a stigma right now going on with crime and stuff,” he said. “And some of it, of course, has facts to back it up. And I think the challenge [is] getting into this neighborhood and making it a safe experience, which we've felt very much we've done here the past week and going into the second week.”
He added that the main way to make that happen is by ensuring well-organized and secure events.
“Safety is created by events,” Jameson said “It really does stop a bit of the criminal activity that may have been there if nothing was going on.”
“I've seen incredibly good behavior changes in that neighborhood,” he continued. “It's impressive to see that we have had — knocking on wood — zero incidents so far, and people have felt very safe and they've been able to explore the riverfront safely. That's a really good feeling.”
Upcoming acts include the Dead South, James Biko, Brothers Lazaroff, the Funky Brass Band with Joanna Serenko and more.
What: Lot on the Landing concert series
When: Now through Oct. 10
Where: 900 N. 1st St., St. Louis, MO 63102
What: The Dead South
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: 900 N. 1st St., St. Louis, MO 63102
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.