GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - At 4 a.m. Thursday, 13th Street will be blocked off by police, so organizers can set up for the first Gulfport Music Festival. While organizers are setting up the stage and booths, police are also fine tuning their traffic and safety plans.
"It's an exciting time. The weekend is going to be fabulous. We have 8,000 people, maybe 10,000 give or take," said Gulfport public information officer Ryan LaFontaine.
With so many people navigating through downtown, the big question is, where will they park?
"South of the tracks on Highway 49 is going to be very congested. We're going to be moving a lot of pedestrian traffic there so that's probably not a good place to be looking for parking," said Officer Chris Loposser of the Gulfport Police Department.
"We have on street parking, where ever it's available throughout the downtown district. We have an agreement with coast transit authority. They're going to use their garage and also the county garage and we'll be running shuttles to and from the garage. Afterwards, we'll have several rows of yellow cabs to take home," said LaFontaine.
Parking will also be available in the parking garages which will be guarded by security. However, in order to find a prime spot, police officers suggest you come early and bring your walking shoes.
"Plan for some travel time. That could include walking or the CTA bus on the route that's going to get you to and from the shuttle," said Loposser. "Plan to do a good deal of walking because parking is going to be premium."
Gulfport Police and festival organizers have been working on the logistics of the festival for months. Police will have several roving units to keep an eye on traffic and safety. There will also be medical tents set up in case of emergency.
"The primary function of the police department in this event to ensure that we have a safe event that everyone can come down enjoy themselves and enjoy what we've done with downtown Gulfport," said Loposser.