End of Bayfest May Open New Doors

A day after Bobby Bostwick, the Executive Director of BayFest cancelled the popular event, he declined to speak with us further about what led to his decision.

“I think we’ve already stated exactly what we’ve said,” added Bostwick.

In a press release sent out yesterday through a PR firm, the event’s board of directors discontinued the event due to a lack of  “support and interest.”

But we delved deeper.  This Thursday we looked at the festival’s past filings, it shows, it’s been losing money. In 2012 BayFest brought in nearly $2.3 million but after expenses it had a deficit of $419,000. Then in the latest filing from 2013 — the event got a $3.3 million infusion from BP — bringing the event into the black. But taking into account the event’s history, spending had been eclipsing revenue.

2014 records have yet to be released but the question is, what happened to the BP money? The answer isn’t for now won’t be coming from Bostwick. In the meantime, we asked Mayor Sandy Stimpson, was there anything that could have saved the event.

“There was never a conversation with me that if we have another $50 — or $100,000 we can go on — that never came about,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson, City of Mobile.

Regardless of why the event was cancelled, the loss of the festival is a blow to the city.

“We need to look at this point and time for next year and ask, what can we put in there what can we create because we’re going to have to come up with something to get people excited about living in Mobile,” said Stimpson.

But where one door closes another may be opening. Local band manager Briant Sawyer says he wants to get some of the bands that were playing at Bayfest to headline at other venues. He envisions something called “Dayfest” — a one day event rather than 3.

“One of the hardest things booking for festivals or booking national acts is you have to catch them on a swing,” said Sawyer who runs Dyas Entertainment and manages the Delta Stones.

However, the issue Sawyer faces now is time. He says if it doesn’t work out this year hopefully he’s laid some groundwork for 2016.

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