Jones Park survives music fest

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The promoters of the Gulfport Music Festival estimate 25,000 people turned out for the two day event.

Mother Nature nearly brought the curtain down on the festival. Friday night, heavy rain was falling just as the Gulfport Music Festival was getting underway. Organizers had to make a serious calculation.

"Friday, during all the rain, we were 10 minutes away from calling it off," said Ricky Mitchell with L&L Media, promoters of the festival.

The biggest challenge arose Saturday when the main stage was compromised and a new stage had to be brought in from New Orleans, causing a few delays. Mitchell said a scramble ensued.

"When the wind and storms came in Saturday, the stage got all twisted. This came within a few minutes of not having a show. The company from New Orleans got that stage over here," Mitchell said.

On Monday morning, crews with Gulfport's Department of Leisure Services surveyed Jones Park to assess what damage may have been done to the grounds.

"All things considered, we're pleased," David D'Aquilla with the Department of Leisure Services told WLOX. "We had some big equipment moving in and out of here. It's nothing that can't be overcome."

Heavy equipment caused some deep ruts, but otherwise the park held up. When the city spent $38 million restoring Jones Park, Gulfport did so realizing big events would be held here.

"We put in Bermuda 419. It's a heavy duty sports turf. It can take a beating," said D'Aquilla.

The secondary stage at Barksdale Pavilion was dismantled. The tents and port-o-lets will be removed and the fencing will come down on Tuesday.

Leisure Services will come in when the park dries out later this week and begin the process of rebuilding the turf.

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