UFO Fest Fumble

Roswell, N.M., won’t get a visit from Billy Ray Cyrus and Phil Vassar at this year’s UFO Festival and officials are blaming the cancellations on a rash of bad publicity.

City council members recently approved a budget for next year that doesn’t include funding for the event, according to the Roswell Daily Record.

Festival committee chairwoman Renee Roach said she’s yielded hundreds of phone calls from people wondering whether this year’s fest is still on.

“It’s been rough,” she told the paper. “Here we are two weeks out of the event and I spend my time telling people we still have an event when I should be closing the loop on all the final details on planning this enormous event.”

A silent partner who was sponsoring the Cyrus and Vassar performances reportedly pulled out after hearing of the city’s decision and Roach said several national news programs also decided not to send crews to broadcast this year’s event.

But despite all the upset, Roswell Mayor Del Jurney told the Record city officials still support the event and merely want to review the current process and the amount of funding. The city allocated $150,000 for this year’s event.

“I’m not sure how it got twisted the way it did,” he said. “I’ve never said that we don’t want to have a festival and I’ve never said that we want to change the effort that’s put into it.”

The alien-themed UFO Festival runs June 30 to July 5 and this year features such events as the “Alien BBQ Competition,” UFO festival parade, laser shows, and performances by “Latino Legends” featuring Tobias Rene, Al Hurricane & Al Hurricane Jr., Sorela, AltaMoni, Erika Bonilla as well as UFOetry, Norio Hiakawa and Route 66 Cruisers.