What is missing from the daily newspaper’s report on the SRIA committee meeting last night is SRIA board member Ed Guernsey telling the DeLuna Fest organizers that they had to pay the Triathlon $12,000 minimum for the weekend, plus guarantee any losses if the event moves to another weekend. DeLuna Fest will also have to pay Songwriters’ Festival and the Beach Chamber’s Wine & Cheese event. Remember DeLuna Fest already pays SRIA over $48,000 in fees. Triathlon, Songwriters and Wine & Cheese pay nothing.
Without those checks, SRIA committee will not recommend to the full board approval of Deluna Fest for that weekend. It’s political extortion, on the level of W.D. Childers. Good Old Boy backroom politics still runs the beach.
If DeLuna Fest moves to downtown Pensacola, the organizers will save $48K in fees and $20-30K in pay-offs. Concert-goers won’t have to pay a bridge toll. Out-of-town visitors can use less expensive hotels. Downtown bars and restaurants will welcome. And in 2012, the event can move to the Maritime Park.
The Triathlon runners can leave the beach by 11 a.m. and have plenty of time to make the DeLuna Fest concerts. Or they can run in the new DeLuna Fest 5K and get free tickets to DeLuna Fest and hang around downtown Pensacola.