The promises have been made and the pressure is now on the promoters to pull it off.
The Ocean City Mayor and Council officially signed off on committing nearly $200,000 to the first-ever Jellyfish Festival next June. The event is a hybrid of the extreme sports event known as the Dew Tour, which was held in Ocean City for three years, and Lollapalooza, a music festival that is now centered in Chicago but was a nationwide tour at one point. The concept for the Ocean City beach headquartered event is to merge big-name live music acts from multiple genres with action sports and family entertainment.
This is a bold move for the town and the promoters. Without question there is risk involved for all parties, and the key piece to this event’s success will be landing the big entertainers envisioned. There needs to be national acts at this event new to this area or it will fail. The council seemed to grasp that this week.
Before signing off on allocating $198,000 to the festival, Councilman Wayne Hartman wanted assurances the town’s investment would be solely put toward booking major music acts that will pack a punch on the draw front.
“… I just want to make sure this money is being used to bring in entertainment above and beyond what we typically see at Sunfest or Springfest, that we bring in acts that are going to make a memory and keep bringing people back year after year. What I don’t want to see is things that have happened in the past where we’ve had contracts with people and other entities they own pay themselves maybe more than market value,” Hartman said.
In response, co-producer Joe Selthoffer rattled off several bands that had verbally expressed an interest in coming to Ocean City, including Michael Franti, Foo Fighters, Journey, the Beach Boys, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins and Charlie Daniels as well as a number of Christian music acts, which will appear on the Sunday of the weekend event.
Co-producer Brad Hoffman later made it clear he gets the city’s position, saying, “We understand the $198,000 will go to top line entertainment that will be bigger and stronger than anything we’ve ever seen in Ocean City. Our goal is to put together a quality family event that will bring these kinds of acts back to Ocean City every year.,” said Hoffman.
I am glad to see Ocean City making this investment in this potentially exciting event. It takes a visionary approach to allocate these sorts of funds. It’s worth a one-year commitment that can then be evaluated afterwards on whether it continues.
There must be something in the water in Snow Hill because transparency issues continue to haunt county government.
Near the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting Worcester County Commissioner Joe Mitrecic wanted to discuss an item – later determined to be a public nuisance property — that was not on the agenda. Since it did not appear on the agenda, Commission President Diana Purnell shut down the conversation, referring to a decision the board made at some point to only discuss matters publicly that she was informed about.
“I’d like to stick to what we decided to do, that when something comes up like this, I know about it beforehand,” Purnell said Tuesday. “We need to stick to what we said we’re going to do. That’s what we need to do.”
This is not the way the county should run. There should be time permitted for a free conversation if a commissioner wants to discuss something off topic or not included on the agenda. There is no harm on this sort of discussion taking place. As a result of this policy, the derelict property Mitrecic and Commissioner Jim Bunting wanted to address will be delayed a couple weeks.
In other news, an interesting radio segment about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge evidently got the attention of some local elected officials. It’s a good thing because it’s important.
While Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot were out and about in Ocean City last week giving out numerous citations and receiving endorsements, my understanding is at least one elected official took the opportunity to broach the topic of two-way traffic on the bay bridge.
A segment on WTOP radio last week quoted a spokesperson for the Maryland Transportation Authority saying westbound traffic will now be prioritized over the span. The idea is no matter the time of day or season the westbound lane will not be opened as much as it historically is on Friday nights and Saturday mornings to address concerns about westbound backups and the impact on emergency vehicles. Compounding the situation is when westbound backups occur back roads are getting jammed up by GPS savvy motorists looking to reduce their downtime.
There seems to be a shift in methodology here that should concern Ocean City officials. The key here is the trek to the beach from Baltimore and Washington is already difficult enough at certain times of the week. It’s common for metropolitan-based visitors to encounter five-hour treks to Ocean City on Fridays during the summer months. Anything that exacerbates that trip for visitors should be a concern, especially with beach competition so fierce.