Due to time restraints with logistical planning and the proximity to the Greater Gulf State Fair, The Grounds has withdrawn from negotiations with BayFest to host the music festival in October 2015.
“In October, The Grounds will host more than 100,000 people at the Greater Gulf State Fair, The Grounds Executive Director Scott Tindle said in a statement. “It’s a massive undertaking to plan and implement an event of this caliber and size. We’re committed to making it the cleanest, most family-friendly event in America, and that is our number one priority right now.
“When we were approached by BayFest to host their music festival this year, we tried our hardest to make it work logistically. Unfortunately, hosting BayFest just a few weeks before our largest event of the year is unrealistic.”
Tindle added in a phone interview Thursday preparation work on the fair campus begins normally in the middle of September and hosting the music festival would put them almost a month behind. In addition, Tindle said carnival rides begin arriving during the first week of October, which would cause another problem if the festival was the first weekend in October.
Tindle said they asked BayFest organizers if they were open to moving the festival to another weekend, but they weren’t open to it.
“There was genuine interest on both sides (for the deal), but we didn’t want to risk our campus not being in pristine condition for the fair,” Tindle said.
City spokesman George Talbot said the city hopes BayFest can find a location that “will suit their needs and enable this great event to continue in Mobile.”
Board President Michael Milford said “while we are honored to have been selected as the new venue for BayFest, our team is currently focused on continuing the property upgrades and customer service elements of the Greater Gulf State Fair.”
“The timing and magnitude of both events make it impossible for our team to do both,” he added.
The Greater Gulf State Fair, one of the largest events along the Gulf Coast, will be held Oct. 30-Nov.
Calls to BayFest President and CEO Bobby Bostwick have not yet been returned.
There will be more on this story as it develops.