Originally created 09/29/06

Festival organizers fear 'fall overload'



Augusta Common saw two festivals over the past two weekends with two vastly different crowd sizes.

After the cancellation of country music star Martina McBride, the two-day Rockin' Rib and Music Fest attracted about 2,000 customers paying $7 to get in, according to Tom Clark, promoter of the event.

A week before, organizers of the Arts in the Heart Festival reported selling about 22,000 passes at $5 apiece for the city's annual fall crafts festival.

The disparity might have had to do with the cancellation of the rib events headliner, but special event "burnout" also could be blamed, industry experts and promoters say.

When concerts or events are scheduled so closely together, the market is often divided between each event. Consumers are forced to choose, and the result is one or all of the events lose out, those familiar with the business said.

"If you're looking at the calendar, you could go to hundreds of events on the weekends," said Jane Canepa, a professor of managing promotions and special events at Columbia College Chicago. But in the end, she said, "you're going to have to choose."

Planning ahead to see what is already scheduled can help, she said. But in Augusta, where fall festival season takes up almost every weekend, there may be no place to move the events with so many festivals booked each weekend in the fall.

Some have suggested scheduling the Arts in the Heart Festival later in the fall because of the heat in September.

Brenda Durant, the director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, which organizes the annual event, said they are considering moving it back a week. But she said the heat may still be there.

Ms. Durant also said that organizers did a good job providing tents this year to get out of the heat.

"We felt that we afforded a lot of shade this year," she said.

Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or justin.boron@augustachronicle.com.

FALL EVENTS


Events scheduled in the area beginning Sept. 15:


Sept. 15-17: Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival, Augusta Common


Sept. 23: Rockin' Rib Festival, Augusta Common


Oct. 7: Oliver Hardy Festival, Harlem


Oct. 13-15: Greek Festival, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Augusta


Oct. 14: Columbia County Renaissance Festival, Columbia County Amphitheater and Memorial Garden, Evans


Oct. 14: Hispanic Festival, Augusta Common


Oct. 14: Atomic City Festival, New Ellington, S.C.


Oct. 19-28: Western Carolina State Fair, Aiken


Oct. 21-22: Colonial Times, Living History Park; North Augusta


Oct. 21-22: Boshears Skyfest, Daniel Field, Augusta


Oct. 26-Nov. 5: Georgia Carolina State Fair, Hale Street Fairgrounds; Augusta


Oct. 28: Halloween Fest, Augusta Common


Nov. 2-11: Columbia County Fair, Columbia County Merchants Association Fairground, Evans