Gulfport Music Festival a 'massive success'

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport Music Festival is being called a massive success.  More than 20,000 people filled the streets of downtown Gulfport over the weekend, according to official numbers from the Gulfport Music Festival being released today.

According to Gulfport leaders, Friday's concerts drew 8,843 ticket holders.  They saw Montgomery Gentry, Jason Michael Carroll, David Nail and more perform at the Gulfport Music Festival.

On Saturday, the crowd grew to 11,762 as Flo Rida, Neon Trees, Sean Kingston and Train played on the main stage.

"We felt all along like we had put together a solid lineup of entertainment, and I would say the weekend was a massive success," said Bill West, vice president of Mississippi Media, the Gulfport-based company that collaborated with City Hall on the event.

Throughout the two-day festival that featured music from 21 bands, the Gulfport Police Department made just nine arrests.

Mayor Schloegel's administration pushed hard for the event and with strong support from the City Council, a small team of organizers from City Hall and Mississippi Media went to work on the inaugural Gulfport Music Festival back in December.

"It took a lot of hard work to pull this off," Mayor Schloegel said. "But after seeing those thousands of people dancing in our streets, we know it was well worth it. The GMF compliments the variety of events Gulfport is staging during the year to bring visitors to a number of places in our city. Some events cater to young children, some to senior citizens and some to the vast crowd in between. It shows that in Gulfport we have something for everyone."

Organizers will begin planning for the second annual GMF sometime later this year, and while they expect to make a few changes, they also expect to bring the same level of quality entertainment to Gulfport.

"For example, we know the location will certainly change," said Ryan LaFontaine, who led the city's portion of the GMF. "Downtown provided a terrific backdrop for the weekend, but next year we expect to be far enough away not to disrupt one minute of regular weekend activity there."

LaFontaine said there likely will be additional changes, but for the most part, music lovers can expect the second annual GMF to be just as exciting as the first.

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