Carl Craft

All Music News

Attention Monmouth University: This Is The Only Smart Location For The Springsteen Archive

There was a big fundraising announcement from Monmouth University and Bruce Springsteen yesterday:  They're tapping their sources for $45 million to build a new Bruce Springsteen Archive.  Monmouth University plans on putting the building on the Monmouth University campus in West Long Branch. The archive will be part of the the "Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music".  The space will feature a small-ish theater (capacity under 300) and lots of his personal memorabilia collected over the decades of his amazing career. As Bruce himself said during the press conference about the place, "I'm planning on getting all of the junk out of my house because it was really getting cluttered in there and so now I've got some place to put that stuff." Clearly, Bruce is deserved of such a space.  His contribution to American music is undeniable.  He is a constant guest whenever huge artists play the state, which has to be fun.  I can hardly imagine the amazing things that Mr. Springsteen has collected. It will be amazing to walk through his personal collection, to see the things that he thought he'd like to save for himself.  It's wonderful that he's willing to share this experience with us; to let us walk through his memorable career. However, I have a much better place for this building.  I implore Monmouth University and Bruce himself.  Don't put this collection and performance space on the Monmouth University campus.  Instead of placing this space in West Long Branch, move it a few miles down Route 71 into Asbury Park. The Bruce Springsteen Archive should be the impetus to rebuild Convention Hall. I don't have to tell you the history of Convention Hall.  We all know that the list of rock artists that performed at Convention Hall is literal who's who of of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.  And we all know that the building that is home to the Paramount Theater, the "arcade" and Convention Hall itself hasn't been used as a performance space for years because it is literally falling apart.  And we all know the connection between Bruce and Asbury Park. We all also understand that the funds to save the iconic structure don't exist in the private sector.  The building and boardwalk's current manager don't have funds to make Convention Hall safe for public use.  The return on investment just is not there. What is required to save Convention Hall is public investment and/or charitable contributions.  Maybe the building could be designated a historic building and receive federal funding.  Or maybe:  there were a reason to encourage people of wealth to be part of the rebuilding of Convention Hall by finding a local son whose personal career highlights could be stored and viewed by the pubic at the iconic structure where that exact local son put down roots. The university says that the design of their new building "will have a boardwalk platform walkway to its entrance".  How about a real boardwalk?  How about the actual real thing? Forty five million bucks seems like a lot of money to me.  It's possible that a Convention Hall rebuild would cost more than that, I dunno.  Maybe the people in charge of the Bruce Springsteen archive looked into this and thought better.  But it seems to me like an opportunity to both honor the man who put the Asbury music scene on the map and save one of the buildings that the scene actually grew from. Am I crazy? [select-gallery gallery_id="648699" syndication_name="bruce-springsteen-top-50-songs-ranked" description="yes"]

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