Texas Music Fest In Limbo

Bedford, Texas, officials decided to cancel the city’s 2005 Labor Day music festival to reevaluate whether hosting the event is financially worthwhile.

City Manager Chuck Barnett told the Dallas Morning News the Bedford Blues and Music Festival hasn’t made a profit since it began in 1995, and it’s time to rethink holding the event.

“Last year we finished more than $200,000 in the red, and I told the City Council then I could not continue to support something that was going to lose that kind of money,” Barnett said. “This year’s festival took another loss, and we finished $78,000 in the red.”

The event has featured national acts including Pat Green, Los Lonely Boys, and Cross Canadian Ragweed but has failed to attract larger crowds.

About 19,000 people attended last year’s September 4-5 event and paid a $5 gate fee for the first time to defray some of the cost. The 2003 festival drew 45,000, according to the paper.

The event is funded by Bedford’s hotel/motel tax, which is earmarked to promote tourism. Barnett said that although the tax generates a lot of money, future losses from the Labor Day event may force the city to dip into hotel/motel reserve funds.

“If we continue to lose $200,000 a year like last year, those reserves will be gone in three years,” he told the News.

Meanwhile, the city manager said the festival cancellation is just for this year while he ponders the next step.

Options under discussion include booking fewer acts on one stage instead of two stages, changing the type of music offered or changing the date.

Pollstar‘s attempt to reach a festival representative was unsuccessful at press time.