Street vendors profit from True/False weekend
COLUMBIA — Filmgoers in pea coats and slouchy beanies bustled down Broadway on Thursday, March 5, as the first day of True/False Film Fest filled downtown Columbia with cars and new faces.
These people had plenty of options when it comes to entertainment and eateries, not only in theaters but on the streets. For musicians and food cart operators, True/False weekend is one of the most profitable of the year.
"I'm usually just here on Friday," recording artist and street performer RavenWolf said. "But True/False weekend, I increase my time here to Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday."
RavenWolf is well known at his post outside of Lakota Coffee Co. on Ninth Street. He lives and records music in St. Louis, but nearly every Friday for six years he has come to Columbia and performs what he calls "spiritual jazz" from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. True/False weekends are an opportunity to sell his music to a wider audience.
"I mean, it's a whole bunch of people that come here," RavenWolf said. "It's bigger than any football game that the university has ever held. It's that many people here."
James Sommerfeldt, a hot dog vendor and long-time friend of RavenWolf's, agrees the festival weekend is a great opportunity for the musician.
"That is his stage, we are his muse," Sommerfeldt said. "With street performers like RavenWolf, it depends on how much of a novelty people feel they are. And when he does his thing, nobody else can even come close."
Novelty seems to be a common denominator for successful street vendors on the festival weekend. Disco Eats, a food cart that began as Stick It Kebabs and serves a variety of foods, also increased its hours this weekend to appeal to out-of-towners.
"A lot of people come from places where they don't have food carts," Owner/operator Shawni Perry said. "The food truck thing isn't happening there, so it's like a big deal for them to be able to get a hot dog from a food truck."
Disco Eats is sure to get a lot of business located right outside the festival box office for the weekend.
"We are able to see everyone who comes into the festival and everyone who comes out of the festival," Perry said. "It's definitely a range of interesting people, and it's been very busy."
Although the weekend has the potential to widen his fan base, RavenWolf does not feel pressured by the new listeners. He sees the festival as just another chance to share his music.
"When you play 17 hours a day, you learn to understand what happens with you and the music," he said. "I'm here to change the world, one heart at a time. There's no pressure."
For more photos of street vendors and True/False, click here.