BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Saturday night's concert for the Coast at MGM Park was the city of Biloxi's first attempt at promoting a major event at the baseball stadium. By all standards of measurement, attendance was disappointing.
"It certainly wasn't the level we wanted. We hoped for a bigger crowd. We sold about 1,650 tickets. Attendance was 1,300 to 1,500 throughout the night," said Cliff Kirkland with the city of Biloxi.
According to Kirkland one big problem was the lack of an operating budget.
"We started with zero. We were fortunate to have some sponsors help with the costs. I think the number one lesson is we need an advertising and marketing budget," Kirkland said.
Because of that, last week the Biloxi City Council appropriated $39,000 to Biloxi Main Street to help pay for the concert. While realizing that was a necessary expenditure, Councilman Robert Deming was a little concerned about having to provide that funding.
"I had some concerns. I was concerned with putting another body in the position to obligate city funds. I felt we had to reimburse Main Street," according to Councilman Robert Deming.
We don't have the final numbers yet on how much the city spent or made, perhaps even lost on the event. Kirkland reminds everyone that the concert was uncharted territory for Biloxi.
"Every event the city puts on costs taxpayers money. We need to remember that this was our first event. This is a building process," Kirkland said.
Mayor Fo Fo Gilich is asking the city council to approve his proposal to create what he calls The Civic Innovation and Development Department. Functions of the new department would be divided between the administration and various city departments. The entity would be responsible for managing cultural resources including events at the baseball stadium.