GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport Music Festival organizers said the fest's reputation as a premier event is growing and tickets sales are reflecting that. On Wednesday, crews began setting up for the two day event which kicks off at Jones Park on Friday.
Organizers said the first two years of the Gulfport Music Festival really set the stage for what they expect to be the largest turnout ever.
"Being our third year I think we've worked out many of the kinks," said Ryan LaFontaine, Gulfport city spokesperson. "Every year we find something that we can improve on and we've done that. This year we have an incredible line up and tickets are doing fantastic."
Even though the festival is one day shorter this year, officials said ticket sales are breaking records.
"Already this year we're 2,000 tickets ahead of what we sold total last year. So it's going to be an even bigger turn out than we had last year," said Bill West, Mississippi Media Vice President.
Organizers said the reason for the higher sales is the Gulfport Music festival is becoming more widely known.
"We have a lot of people coming from out of town this year," West said. "We have more people coming from the New Orleans area, Mobile, all the way into Hattiesburg and even north Mississippi. As we track the ticket sales, we see more out of town people coming."
Organizers said artists have been calling asking to be part of the festival.
"One of the bands this year is an Australian rock band Airborne, is one of those that called and said they heard about the festival," said West. "They're one of the top rock bands in Australia and are trying to make it in the states."
LaFontaine said, "This year, because of Smashing Pumpkins being a headliner, I think that's really helped pull people in from even farther away. We think we've built a quality event. A family oriented outdoor music festival and personally I think it's one of the best music festivals along the Gulf Coast."
The Gulfport Music Festival gates open at 3 p.m. on Friday and noon on Saturday.