The organizers of a three-day country music festival that will be held at Douglas County County’s Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club want to bring some of the excitement to downtown Douglasville.
More than 120,000 country music fans and outdoor enthusiasts are expected to flock to Douglas County’s Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club this summer for the first Chattahoochee River Country Music Festival. The festival, slated for July 24-26, will feature 18 nationally known country music artists, a Midway carnival, camping, fishing, and horseback riding. The festival is organized by CelebScene, Inc., a young social media platform and promoting agency based in Paulding County’s Atlanta Film Studios.
During Thursday’s Douglasville City Council work session, Councilman Larry Yockey invited Scott Powers to talk about the festival and how the city can get involved.
Powers is managing partner of Douglasville-based experiential marketing agency DriveTerrain and a sponsorship coordinator for the festival.
A longtime city resident, Powers told city council members about a concept he believes would bring “a tremendous audience and some great public exposure to downtown Douglasville.”
But before going into details about what is being proposed for Douglasville, he gave some background on the festival and why it is significant for the city even though the event will be taking place on the other end of the county.
“We will be bringing over 120,000 country music fans to the community, which means that we will pretty much be completely booked in every hotel room, at every restaurant,” Powers said. “It’s going to have a tremendous economic impact for the city and the county as well.”
Aside from the potential for the event to generate sales tax revenue for the city, he also presented it as an affordable opportunity for citizens to be able to have a lot of fun and do something “really significant” in their own backyard. He then went into what organizers are proposing for the city.
“As an unintended consequence of the festival, we wound up with 40 or 50 really stellar bands that have requested to come and play at the festival, but we just don’t have a place for them,” Powers said.
There are already 24 artists booked for the festival, so organizers are reaching out to Douglasville, Carrollton, Newnan and Woodstock to propose a “Battle of the Bands” event for country artists. The event would use Douglasville’s downtown plaza beginning May 22 from 6 to 10 p.m. One plan is to have the event on five consecutive Fridays on the plaza.
The other plan is to begin the event in Douglasville and then rotate through a list of cities with the final “battle” featuring the best bands returning to the plaza.
“We would propose that we would get residents vote via Facebook app and that the winners of those various concerts would come back and have an opportunity to play at the festival,” Powers said. “We’re giving some smaller regional bands an opportunity to have an audience of 120,000 people, which is pretty significant.”
He told the council that the festival would partner with the city and local restaurants.
“We have 24,000 followers right now on Facebook after a month without having actually launched our media yet,” Powers said. “We have over $1 million in media that will launch here in the next couple of weeks to the community. We’ll use all of those tools to promote the festival. Benefits to the city include entertainment that’s linked with this major regional southeastern regional festival being provided to Douglasville for free - no cost to the city of Douglasville.”
He also described the event as an opportunity for the city to create sales tax revenue from food and alcohol sales as well as raise funds for the city’s Main Street program to help promote downtown Douglasville.
“I think that there are some successful characteristics that would make this a win-win for the festival as well as the city of Douglasville and its residents,” Powers said. “First of all, we’re able to tap into the sort of cache of the festival and provide the entertainment at no cost. That is a significant plus. We also were happy to provide logistics, planning, set up and promotional support to the event.”
After his presentation, Councilman Mark Adams asked if he has already reached out to the other cities who could potentially be involved.
“We have reached out to them and we have further meetings scheduled over the coming week,” Powers said. “Response has been tremendous. We find that opportunities to bring in major events to downtown that don’t cost anything for the city to do so is a big boon for business and appreciated by all of the local businesses and the residents of the community.”
He confessed that he is a little biased when it comes to Douglasville.
“I’ve been here a long time and I’ve seen a lot of really great things happen,” Powers said. “I’ve also seen us lose some opportunities over the time that I’ve been involved with things in downtown Douglasville and I just want to make sure that this isn’t one of the them.”
The conversation soon turned to TomorrowWorld with Councilman Samuel Davis asking how big the Chattahoochee event is compared to the annual electronic music festival across the river in Fulton County.
“TomorrowWorld has about 150,000 attendance in its third year,” Powers said. “We expect over 120,000 in our first year and, you know, we try to not compare ourselves to TomorrowWorld. I think it’s a very different audience. It’s in a different location. They do a phenomenal job with electronic dance music. We intend to do a phenomenal job (with country music).”
While Powers wouldn’t publicly discuss the differences between the two festivals, Yockey brought up one of the major issues some residents have with TomorrowWorld.
“This is a little bit different than the world festival because the world festival had issues with noise in the wee hours of the night and coming across the river,” he said. “There were some complaints. This particular music festival, it’s a family environment.”
Yockey believes the city should help sponsor the event for the downtown area.
“It is bringing in people from all over into our city,” he said.
Mayor Harvey Persons acknowledged that the proposal is “an exciting concept” and the city wants to do what it can to promote Douglasville. But Persons said its also important to make sure it’s done in an orderly and safe manner.
“You’d rather not compare it to another venue and certainly we don’t maybe necessarily do that,” he said. “But there are some issues as it related to that venue. As a matter of fact, I’ve received numerous phone calls into the late hours of the night from city residents that were experiencing difficulty with noise and noise levels and all.”
Persons stressed that anytime there is talk about an event, its important to discuss noise levels, public safety and crowd control.
He asked Davis, chairman of the public safety committee, to work with Powers and city staff in putting together a written proposal that will be presented to the council for discussion.
“What you’re talking (about) seems to be very exciting certainly will bring a lot of interest to downtown Douglasville,” Persons said.
Powers cautioned the council about comparing the proposal to TomorrowWorld and that Chattahoochee River Music Festival in regard to safety and other related concerns.
“I really wouldn’t equate this to requiring very much more of a different level of scrutiny than let’s say Wednesday Wind Down or other types of concert events that are on the plaza,” he said. “Obviously, we would be happy to make ourselves available to do whatever we can to help the city and make this work.”
On Monday’s agenda:
• Presentation by Mayor Harvey Persons of a proclamation declaring the month of April 2015, as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in the City of Douglasville to representatives of Children’s Voice, C.A.S.A, Inc.
• Presentation by Mayor Harvey Persons of a proclamation declaring the month of April 2015, as Safe Digging Month in the City of Douglasville, to representatives of the Douglas County UCC and Georgia 811.
• Item 20-15-13 — Adopt a new Civil Emergencies ordinance to replace existing Chapter 30 of the City Code.
• Item 20-15-14 — Authorize the Douglasville Police Department to apply for the 2015 Bullet Proof Vest Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance, in the amount of $5,950.00 for 1/2 the cost of 20 vests.
• Item 26-15-04 — Appoint Ralph J. Urbas to the Post 4 position on the City’s Keep Douglasville Beautiful (KDB) Board, to complete a two-year term which extends through December 31, 2016.
• Item 20-15-15 — Request for a change in the agent outlet manager for the alcoholic beverages licenses for the sale and consumption of wine and malt beverages, and spirituous liquor at the following establishment:
— Licensee: Rare Hospitality International, Inc.
— DBA: Longhorn Steak House of Douglasville
— Location: 8471 Hospital Drive
— Current Agent Outlet Manager: Steven J. Penn
— Proposed Agent Outlet Manager: Bradley Tschantz
The required investigation has been conducted and the required fees have been paid into the City Finance Department.
• Item 20-15-16 — Request for the change in agent outlet manager for the alcoholic beverages licenses for the sale and consumption of wine and malt beverages and spirituous liquor at the following establishment:
— Licensee: The English Country House Group, Inc.
— DBA: Irish Bred Pub & Restaurant
— Location: 6682 Broad St.
— Current Agent Outlet Manager: (Vacant)
— Proposed Agent Outlet Manager: Mia Birtwistle
The required investigation has been conducted and the required fees have been paid into the City Finance Department.
• Item 21-15-17 — Appoint Donna Cox to a new four-year term as the Post 4 member on the City of Douglasville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board for a term extending through March 22, 2019, and appoint Shandron Pemberton to complete an unexpired term as the Post 5 member on the DDA Board extending through March 22, 2016.
• Item 21-15-18 — Adopt a resolution supporting the annual Taste of Douglasville event to be held on May 16, 2015 in downtown Douglasville.
• Item 22-15-14 — Adopt an ordinance amending various provisions of sections 3.50 and 8.197.01. of the Zoning Ordinance to define and regulate unified tower arrays, to modify landscaping requirements for tower sites, and to regulate intra-site relocation of towers.
• Item 22-15-15 — Request for a change in zoning from CG (General Commercial District) to CG (General Commercial District) with a special land use permit for a tattoo and piercing studio on approximately 1.50 +/- acres at 3112 Bright Star Road in Land Lot 131, District 2, Section 5, Parcel 175. Application made by John McElwaine.
• Item 23-15-06 — Accept the bid from D. L. Masonry, LLC, for construction of the new maintenance shed at the City of Douglasville’s West Pines Golf Club in the amount of $58,250.00, and authorize the Mayor to sign the necessary agreements with said company for construction of this facility at a cost not to exceed to specified amount.
• Item 23-15-07 — Accept the bid from Red Oak Sports, Inc., for renovation of the football field at the City of Douglasville’s Davis Park in the amount of $57,376.00, and authorize the Mayor to sign the necessary agreements with said company for this renovation work at a cost not to exceed the specified amount.
• Presentation of the annual City of Douglasville Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2013 — 2014, which ended June 30, 2014, by Tammy A. Galvis, Partner, with the audit firm of Crace Galvis McGrath, LLC.
• Item 26-15-05 — Authorize the Mayor to sign an agreement with Stevenson & Palmer Engineering, Inc. accepting a proposal for a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment and Other Property Assessments at a price not to exceed $16,000.00, to assist in the City’s search for a new site for the Maintenance and Sanitation Department.