The organizers of TenSixtyFive have announced the free music festival held annually in Downtown Mobile will not take place in 2019 due to the lack of necessary sponsorship funds, but city officials are hopeful something may be able to take its place.
TenSixtyFive, which would have been going into its fifth year in October, was launched just weeks after Mobile’s long-running festival, BayFest, ended abruptly in 2015.
With some initial support from the city, DMG Productions Inc., Gulf Distributing and Jake Peavy Foundation joined together to host the inaugural event, which featured acts such as George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band.
However, after four years of providing Mobilians with free music, organizers say the funds just aren’t there to support the festival at the level fans have come to expect. That said, the statement DMG Productions released last week hinted at future plans to bring music back downtown.
“We have established an expectation within our organization and with our party-goers about the kind of festival we want TenSixtyFive to be, and at this time, DMG simply cannot meet that expectation,” it reads. “However, we want the community to know that we are not going away — we are simply sharpening our pencils and getting back to the drawing board. Our goal is to create an event that is sustainable, can continue our vision and is up to the standards of our citizens, sponsors and supporters.”
Representatives for the city said officials were “disappointed” by the news about TenSixtyFive, calling the festival “a great thing for Mobile.” However, on Tuesday, city spokesperson George Talbot said city officials are working with festival organizers and other groups on an alternative event for the first weekend of October this year.
He said more details could be announced this week, though he indicated the event may have a different format than previous festivals like TenSixtyFive. Other than that, Tablot didn’t offer many details, though there does appear to still be an appetite for something to fill the gap TenSixtyFive could leave.
“We are excited about what is next for TenSixtyFive,” Sarah Lauren Allen, a spokeswoman for the Jake Peavy Foundation, told Lagniappe via email. “We will continue to support TenSixtyFive in any new direction it takes, as well as all our other endeavors in our great city!”
David Clark, president & CEO of Visit Mobile, is tasked with getting tourists to visit Mobile, but regardless of whether any future event becomes and influx of tax dollars, Clark said these kinds of events can be “very important” to a city and its identity.
“Music and that culture piece, it’s all a part of the arts, and in my opinion, the arts are one of the things that define a community,” Clark said. “In the future, I think there’s a place for a big music festival here, but also for smaller events on an ongoing basis.”
Clark said he could easily see something like an ongoing concert series in places like Cooper Riverside Park, Cathedral Square and Bienville Square in the future. He believes the local talent and interest is there and all that’s lacking is the coordination and planning to make it happen and market it.
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