Sunday, May 19, 2013
PORTLAND - City officials met Thursday to grade the city's handling of last weekend's daylong Mumford & Sons concert on the Eastern Promenade, which drew about 16,000 people.
Mumford & Sons closed Saturday’s festival, which encountered a few glitches.
Press Herald file photo
City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg enumerated some of the changes that city officials would recommend for another large concert on the Eastern Promenade:
• More signs pointing people to water, mist tents, other amenities and exits.
• Posts and ropes to clearly mark lines for food vendors, because many of the lines Saturday merged together in the crowd.
• More food vendors, since some people reported waiting an hour or more for food.
• A breast-feeding area. Some mothers went to the medical tents to nurse.
• Enhanced cellphone coverage. People were getting poor reception because of the sheer number of devices.
They gave it, essentially, an A minus.
Representatives from seven departments met for two hours to review Saturday's music festival and agreed that it "went very well," said city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.
All felt confident that any future event of similar size and scope on the Prom could be handled as well, if not better, with some minor changes, Clegg said.
Officials have begun tallying the money the city will collect from the show -- a negotiated share of revenue that serves as a fee for use of the public park. So far, the city knows it will get $19,590 from its share of merchandise and ticket sales, Clegg said.
The city will also get 15 percent of all food sales, an amount that hasn't been tallied. Also, concert organizers bought the city six giant trash bins, valued at $24,000.
Fifty cents from each ticket sold is earmarked for Friends of the Eastern Promenade, a group that's dedicated to improving the public park. With about 15,000 tickets sold -- many others were given out free -- that group stands to make about $7,500. The group also was allowed to sell water at the event.
Clegg said the city will be reimbursed for all of its costs associated with the event -- including labor -- but that amount hadn't been calculated as of Thursday.
The event, featuring the British folk rockers Mumford & Sons and seven other bands, lasted from noon until about 9 p.m. Saturday.
"Basically, everybody felt it went really well, then we got into the weeds, talking about what we might do better if we did this again," Clegg said of Thursday's review. "Everybody felt confident that something like this could definitely be done again."
But will it be done again? That question may not be answered until the next time a concert promoter or group proposes such a thing.
The event's local promoter, Lauren Wayne, did not attend Thursday's meeting. She said she will meet with city officials soon to "compare notes" about how the event went and discuss, in general terms, whether a similar event could be held on the Eastern Promenade.
Wayne and others touted the event's economic impact. She said more than 150 people were hired to work at the concert, not counting vendors, and the Mumford tour's management booked 150 hotel rooms for the weekend, for a total bill of about $50,000.
About half of the tickets -- 7,500 or more -- were sold to people from outside Maine, Wayne said.
Past economic studies have estimated that an overnight stay related to an event can generate $300 per person for the host city, said Barbara Whitten, president of the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She said that estimate is probably conservative for last weekend's event, since she heard from visitors that some hotel rooms cost as much as $300.
The Beach to Beacon road race was held the same day in nearby Cape Elizabeth, so hotel rooms were scarce, Whitten said.
"Everyone on our board would like to see more events like this," she said of the Mumford concert. "It was an amazing opportunity to put the city on a different level in the eyes of the music industry."
Clegg said a summary of Thursday's review will be presented to city councilors soon, so they can have that information when deciding on any future events on the Eastern Promenade.
Clegg said police reported no arrests. She said the assessment was similar to reviews done after fireworks celebrations on the Eastern Prom on the Fourth of July.
Diane Davison, president of Friends of the Eastern Promenade, said most group members she talked to think the event went smoothly.
She said she thought the amount of litter was less than during Fourth of July festivities, and she expects the park will be left in better condition because the lawn is being re-seeded.
Davison said the money her group made from the event will be used for long-term improvements to the park.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: