9 of the 11 committee members were present. Absent was Debi Knight and Paul Wohlford.
Indian Summer Festival
- Two organizations interested in taking over operation of the festival made presentations. Both proposals are for Columbus Day Weekend, October 10-12, 2008.
- Jeffrey Wolfe, from Multimedia Publishing, Inc. (http://www.multimediapp.com), would like to provide a “Family oriented food and entertainment venue, which focuses on wholesome family fun.” The festival would remain at Frank Brown Park and retain the name Indian Summer Seafood Festival. Wolfe’s vision includes a cooking demonstration stage, a kid-oriented stage that would include the involvement of Bay County Schools, and a music stage. The music stage would have a unique music theme each day, such as margaritiville, country, and big band. Although the possibility of a Jimmy Buffett concert was subsequently reported by WJHG, it is my understanding that Wolfe is only proposing a margaritiville-style concert. Multimedia listed their affiliations with the Niceville Mullet Festival, the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, and Blue Angels events in Pensacola; however, I believe that they only provided services to these events rather than acting as event promoter. The presentation was silent as to what financial support they would be requesting from the TDC/CVB; however, their handout did refer to “seed money” being used for operations. Although and exception was made recently for the FSU Flying Circus, it is TDC/CVB policy to only provide advertising support to special events. Wolfe anticipates a total attendance of 18,000.
- Beach Events, Inc., a new company with the same core staff that has produced the Thunder Beach festivals since 2001, supplemented its March 20th presentation to host the Indian Summer Music & Art Festival. While the event will be promoted as a family-friendly event and will offer $5 tickets for children 12 and under, they would not focus their marketing as a family-specific event. BEI is of the belief that previous attempts to brand the festival as family-only were unsuccessful and that there are “not enough families that will make a 2 to 3+ hour drive for an extended concert weekend in order to make the dramatic economic impact on the beaches of Panama city Beach that is so needed during this slow shoulder period.” Although primarily a music festival with a minimum of three separate venues, BEI plans “food and retail vendors with a strong emphasis on artists and arts & crafts vendors that offer unique, quality wares.” A single daily ticket would provide access to all venues. Music style would include jazz, blues, r & b, adult contemporary, country, and classic rock. The proposal calls for the TDC/CVB to transfer ownership of the festival to BEI for $1 and to provide financial support in the amount of $60,000/year for 2008 and 2009. $60,000 was the yearly support provided to the prior promoter. No automatic funding is requested starting in 2010.
- Jack Bishop expressed his disapproval with the BEI proposal since it would result in governmental funds being used to promote events at private businesses. Although the main venue would remain at Frank Brown Park, BEI plans at least two additional venues located at private businesses similar to Thunder Beach.
- Based on his belief that neither proposal provided sufficient financial information, Bill Spann made a motion to table the discussion. The motion only received 3 yes votes (Spann/Bishop/John Hamati).
- Spann then made a motion to schedule a special Marketing Committee meeting in two weeks to continue the discussion. Both promoters will be expected to provide a more specific proposal at that time. No new proposals will be considered. The motion passed 9-0.
Seabreeze Jazz Festival
- A presentation was made by Mark Carter requesting $10,000.00 in marketing support to bring his Seabreeze Jazz Festival to Aaron Bessant Park at Pier Park for 2009. The event would be held the weekend after Easter and has received tentative approval from the City of Panama City Beach.
- The amount requested would replace funding currently received from the Walton County TDC. The festival has been located in various South Walton County locations over its 10 year history including Seaside, Watercolor, and Gulf Place (the location of this year’s festival). Carter explained that his desire to move the festival to PCB is based on improved parking and a greater availability of condominiums in close proximity to the festival site.
- Carter advised that his festival attracts an older and higher income demographic and that 60% of the attendees are from out of state. He also expects to cap ticket sales to retain the festival’s intimate feel. Last year the festival sold out the available 5500 tickets.
- A motion recommending that the CVB Board approve funding in the amount of $10,000.00 passed unanimously. A condition was included that the festival may not have an exclusive hotel/condominium or booking agent. This condition was due to the festival’s current exclusive arrangement with ResortQuest.
- The Committee is not following the current special events policy. The policy provides that funding for special events in the fiscal year beginning October 1st will not be considered until June 1st. The reasoning provided is that the festival would like to announce its new location for 2009 during this year’s festival April 16-20th, 2008. While I understand their reasoning and agree that the expenditure is worthwhile, the committee is acting inconsistently. At the last meeting, the committee expressed their support for a funding request from the 2008 Emerald Coast Cruizin’ event this November 3rd through 8th, but would not deviate from the Special Event policy. Isn’t it equally important for the ECC event to be able to finalize plans and promotions for an event that is only 7 months away? Maybe a change needs to be made or should be made in the budget process so that special event funding for events early in the CVB’s fiscal year (October through September), such as ECC and the Indian Summer Festival could be tentatively approved prior to the budget process.
- A draft of the First Quarter 2007 Visitor Profile report was distributed to the committee and audience. The Profile covers October – December 2007 and is the first report under the Klages Group research contract.
- During the audience participation portion of the meeting, Mark Canfora pleaded with the Committee to consider changes to its policy of providing financial support for College Spring Break. Canfora expressed his concern for the students he believes leave our destination scarred for life as a result of what happens to them while here (e.g. rape) and for the families of students who have died here on spring break. Canfora also distributed a proposed document titled “Disclaimer and Warning: PCB College Spring Break may be hazardous to your health, safety and well being” along with a request that it “be posted in all hotel rooms, condos, convenience stores, etc. (As long as College Spring Break is promoted by the TDC).”
-Bryan DurtaPrint Story