To other cities trying to piggyback on the city’s success with MoonPie Over Mobile, Councilman Fred Richardson quoted this year’s headlining act for the event, saying “You’re Never Gonna Get It.”
His quip from Thursday’s press conference comes from the female R&B group En Vogue’s 1992 hit “My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It.)” Richardson said cities such as Nashville and Pensacola won’t be able to duplicate MoonPie Over Mobile’s eight years of New Year’s Eve success.
“Cities are dropping … everything from the sky trying to catch Mobile,” Richardson said. “Other than New York, no other city’s event is broadcast throughout their time zone.”In addition to the music, the event will include a laser light show, fireworks, a carnival-style second line and the cutting of the world’s largest MoonPie from the Chattanooga Bakery, Events Mobile President Carol Hunter said. The event this year will also feature large projection screens on the main stage allowing college football fans the opportunity to watch the College Football Playoff from the event site.
“We don’t want anyone to miss the action,” Hunter said. “We’ll be broadcasting the games from the stage.”
Richardson said the “jumbotrons” should encourage more people to participate.
“We don’t anyone to stay home to watch the game,” he said.
Also, screens will be used to “televise” the En Vogue concert to attendees on Royal and St. Francis streets, who may not have a direct line of sight, Richardson said.
The event’s main stage is sponsored by Austal USA, Hunter said. Although a representative from Austal could not attend the announcement, Communications Director Craig Savage wrote in a statement the company was excited to present the headliner.
“We are proud, on behalf of our 4,000 local employees at Austal, to again sponsor the main stage and bring great talent such as En Vogue to Mobile to celebrate the New Year,” he wrote.
Other sponsored included Retirement Systems of Alabama, the city and Mobile County. In addition to in-kind services, the city also gave Events Mobile a $125,000 performance contract for the MoonPie drop and other events throughout the year, Hunter said. The county pitched in $25,000 for marketing.
Included in the $125,000 from the city is about $15,000 for a fireworks display, Richardson said. While in the past, the city has looked to public-private partnerships, most notably with Dean McCrary Auto Group, to help defray the cost of the fireworks show. Richardson cited the cancellation of BayFest as the reason the council pitched in more this year.
“The city council saw value in this,” he said. “We’re losing too much. We didn’t want to lose anymore.”
Richardson defended the cost, mentioning other events the city supported included more than $1 million for the GoDaddy.com Bowl and $100,000 for Riverside Ice at Cooper Riverside Park.
The New Year’s Eve festivities last year drew 50,000 to 60,000 visitors downtown and benefitted hotels in the city and county, Hunter said, citing a survey produced by the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
While the Events Mobile Committee has never stated an attendance goal for the New Year’s Eve event, Hunter said a continued impact on hotels countywide would be a good mark.