Gulfport readies for Music-Fest 2011

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There are only six days left until the Gulfport Music Festival that's expected to draw thousands.

Aside from the event bringing some A-listers to the main-stage, there's also the expectation of major revenue for businesses along the coast.

Like so many other businesses, Pinkston Music in Gulfport, is eagerly anticipating the concert goers expected to crowd the streets of downtown Gulfport.

The concert will host an impressive lineup of artists who've made their mark in the music industry, while also showcase local talent. Something owner of Pinkston Music, Jim Pinkston, is very happy about.

"It's really great for local bands. Yes there's going to be national headliners, but with the booking a lot of local bands it gives them an opportunity to play on the big stage and that's something many of them would never have had the opportunity to do," said Pinkston.

Workers at the Half Shell Oyster House said they, too, are excited about the big weekend. The restaurant will be extending business hours and heavily staffed to better serve high volume of customers expected.

"It's a really big step for the downtown area to have this concert. We've actually moved up a lot. I've been here for a long time on the MS Gulf Coast, and there's so much coming to downtown Gulfport. I think it's brought a lot of people this way and really started to open up a lot of opportunities for other businesses as well," said Tiffany Jendron, Half Shell Oyster House Manager.

Right now downtown Gulfport is undergoing a complete makeover as a massive rebuilding project is underway. City officials said next week's major event is also in celebration of that.

"These are a lot of people that I don't think have ever been downtown. Our downtown hasn't looked like this for very long. So this is just a really great opportunity to showcase what's downtown. Let people see these new businesses and we think they'll come back to visit. There's a lot to see here," says Lisa Bradley, with the city of Gulfport.

The signs of the concert will be evident as streets are barricaded next Thursday. Though the crowds may be a bit of an inconvenience, city officials AND businesses owners are confident that the concert is a move in the right direction.

"Traffic is traffic, but anything that puts a new customer in my store that would have never come here before, I'm all for it," Pinkston explained.

"This is monumental for us. It's really a historic event. We've never had that many people in our downtown at once. We've never had this level of entertainment in Gulfport before. It's the biggest party we've ever thrown," said Bradley.

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