SPORTS FESTIVAL Cleveland to host Gravity Games
The event will be held from Wednesday through Aug. 4 and is expected to draw a big crowd.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
CLEVELAND -- The past three years, the Gravity Games had the hand of Providence. This year's festival will be downright Erie.
The action sports festival is moving from Providence, R.I. to Cleveland from Wednesday through Aug. 4.
Cleveland is expected to, well, rock.
"We were ready for a bigger market," Executive director Wade Martin said. "We really wanted to freshen the event up."
The Gravity Games are touted as the highest-rated, best-attended event of its kind.
More than 300,000 are expected to attend this week, bringing as much as $30 million to Cleveland's economy.
But the games aren't just about skateboarding or street luge. They're also about music and fashion and hanging out on the waterfront with a bunch of wild sports fans.
Sort of like a Browns game, only with tattoos and piercings.
It is a festival
"We wanted to capture the essence of the action sports community," Martin said. "We have live music, a climbing wall, a dirt track, give-aways -- a whole festival village."
It costs $12 per day to enter the village ($40 for all five days), which opens every day at 11 a.m. There will be live bands each day, including performances by Wyclef Jean, Filter, Default, Busta Rhymes and Run DMC.
NBC will air the games on tape delay on weekends in October and November.
Fans also may see the games live on the pay-per-view provider iN DEMAND for $14.95 per day or $29.95 for all four days.
"I think the thing that amazes anyone who's never been to an event like this is how incredibly refreshing and accessible the athletes are as a group," Martin said. "And you can't do what the things they're doing unless you're an incredible athlete."
Extreme sports have always appealed to the young, but moving the event to Cleveland will help the event continue to attract a larger audience, Martin said. Cleveland is expected to host the event at least once more by 2005.
"We take pride in the fact that this really becomes a community event," he said. "I think everyone who comes will end up enjoying it."