Up until this week, the organizer of the Boaters-Aid Family Music Festival, planned for the Isle of Wight Bay this weekend, gave every intention he planned to continue with the event, despite the fact the county said it could not be held because the proper permits were not secured. In fact, word is even if the proper process was followed months ago it most likely would not have received those permits because of health and environmental concerns.
While initially contending the event would go on despite the county’s position on the event, the organizer, Allen Barzak, conceded in a press release Wednesday the event has been officially scrapped. The plan was to have an actual stage on a barge in the bay near the Isle of Wight park off Route 90 with games and activities provided for kids. Approximately 1,000 boats were predicted to attend the water-based festival, which was to feature three bands. Those coming by land were going to reportedly be shuttled from Showell Elementary School’s parking lots, but the school system knew nothing about those plans.
“We wanted to create a truly unique experience that everyone would enjoy,” said Barzak. “It took years of logistical planning, but I wanted to bring some of the industry’s top musical acts, including The Guess Who, Heart By Heart and Jo Dee Messina, to the region in a fun and exciting setting to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I am very disappointed by the turn of the events this week. Not for myself but for the children of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital who were depending on this money to help them further their research and continue their efforts to help fight childhood cancer.”
Although surely there are environmental concerns associated with having so many boats in such a shallow area where habitat and seagrass beds would be compromised, the real non-starter here was the timing. Adding this sort of bay-based event to the usual hectic nature of this holiday weekend equates to a recipe for disaster. Marine and land emergency responders will already be stressed to the max and adding the unknowns associated with this event would have been troublesome.
It’s probably not going to be there long, as either Mother Nature or the authorities will probably destroy it, but it was fun this week to observe the flag flying on an island in the Isle of Wight Bay.
It was even better to read the account of how the whole thing came about. It all started with an idea from Captain Glen Smith of Selbyville. He noticed Dog and Bitch Island had grown significantly in recent months as a result of dredging spoils being pumped on it from ongoing projects in the area. He said during the Air Show last month he noticed the island had a grade to it that hit its peak in the center. He thought a flag would be a great addition to the island.
That idea came to fruition last Sunday when Smith brought a flag, a pole and the required tools to the island intent on making it happen. Apparently, two couples who were boating recreationally in the area happened upon the island and offered to help. After hours of working on the project, all involved seemed surprised by the response from onlookers.
“The American dream is still alive and well,” Smith said. “People got together for a common cause and you could see attitudes start to change. Other groups joined in and when the flag went up, there were rounds of applause and cheers of God Bless America went up. It was a wonderful experience.”
One of the fellow boaters who helped out, Bryan James of West Virginia, agreed.
“As we raised the flag, a loud applause sounded from all over the island and nearby boats. People gathered and expressed their gratitude to Glen for what he had done and shook his hand. I sure hope it’s still standing. I’m glad we stumbled onto Dog and Bitch Island that day. It was truly a moving experience.”
That’s a great story for this weekend. Happy Fourth of July weekend to everyone.