Tomorrow, we will have in our June 2 issue a news story on Banks Enterprise, the music promotion company owned by William “Cadillac” Banks, and the controversy over how to spend the funds given to the area for tourism promotion by BP.
Through a public record request of the county, we obtained a copy of his proposal. Banks requested $385,685 for
“2011 Gulf Coast Summerfest is an all day outdoor event. The entertainment consist of top R&B artists from around the country. If funded, the line-up will consist of nine (9) national recording artists. The estimated attendees are between 30,000-40,000. The event will be free. (This 2-day event will be held in August or September of 2011.)”
Banks estimated 29,000 would be out-of-town visitors. And it would be held at the Pensacola Fairgrounds.
Promotion plan – budget of $75,000– includes radio, TV, newspaper and flyers in seven states.
Florida: Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Panama City and surrounding areas.
Alabama: Mobile, Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and surrounding areas.
Louisiana: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Hammond, Shreveport, Lafayette and surrounding areas.
Georgia: Atlanta, Albany, Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Augusta and surrounding areas.
Tennessee: Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville, Knoxville and surrounding areas.
South Carolina: Columbia, Charleston and surrounding areas.
Note: $75,000 divided between 24 cities: $3125 per city.
Another feature of Banks’ proposal is his “Tell US Where You Are From” program. Patrons will go to his company website, click on a “Guest Book” tab and answer three questions:
1. Where are you from?
2. How many are in your party?
3. What hotel or motel are you registered at?
By filling out the guest book, out-of-town patrons will be entered into a drawing for artists’ Meet & Greet and backstage access.
Note: Tickets sales aren’t tied to this questionnaire. No way to know if respondent has tickets or is actually answering questions truthfully. The only way to measure out-of-town visitors is at the hotels and condos.
Barkays, Ohio Players “Roller Coaster”),
Confunkshun (who played at my college fraternity in 1977),
Dazz Band and Shave: $60,000
Trey Songs: $60,000
Raheem Davaughn: $40,000
Total Cost of Artists: $258,000
Light & Stage : $25,000
Portable Toilet: $1,095
Traffic/Security (10 deputies): $2,500
Gate officers (PPD): $690
Catering (Artists): $2,500
Total General & Administrative: $33,585
Event Insurance ($2 million liability): $2,900
Ticket Master account fee: $1,800
Ticket Master – ticket printing: $5,000
Ground Transportation: $2,000
Total costs: $385,685
Hangout Fest sold 35,000 tickets. I was told yesterday that it’s total budget was over $6,000,000. There has been a comparison to the Banks festival to Essence Music Festival being held in New Orleans.
Essence has truly major acts and is held in the Superdome: USHER, CHARLIE WILSON, JENNIFER HUDSON, FANTASIA, BOYZ II MEN, KANYE WEST, JILL SCOTT, CHAKA KHAN, EL DEBARGE, MARY J BLIGE, NEW EDITION, KEM
The three-day event also has a lounge series: Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle, Dwele, Irma Thomas, Macy Gray, Mavis Staples, Mint Condition, Miguel, Noel Gourdin, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Tank
Essence has major corporate sponsors and its tickets aren’t free:
Platinum VIP Festival Ticket: $1,000
Gold Plus Ticket: $300—$500 per night
Floor Tickets: $125 – $240 per night
Plaza Tickets: $95-$105 per night
Loge Tickets: $80-$90 per night
Terrace Tickets: $50 per night
Essence’s budget has to be over $10 million.
If the goals are to establish a major music festival that is built around African-American artists and to attract African-American tourists to Escambia County, then let’s do it right. Have the Escambia County Commission hire as consultants the people who put together the Essence Music Festival and let them draft a plan for how to duplicate –maybe on a smaller scale at first –what is being done in New Orleans. Then the county commission and the TDC can figure out how to implement the plan.
Spending any money on a one-time event without a plan or the resources is wasting money. Plus, since Banks has none of his own money in the event, all the risk is carried by the county. If only 2,000 people show up – most of which are from within 60 miles of Pensacola—then we’ve wasted $385K. If we somehow attract 40,000, then there is no plan to build off of it. Without ticket sales, there is no cash being generated to set up reserves for the next event.