The city-parish inched closer to securing Bayou Country Superfest on Tuesday after it finalized an agreement that ensures the Memorial Day weekend concert would receive $600,000 for returning to LSU Tiger Stadium in 2012.
Mayor-President Kip Holden, Metro Councilman Joel Boé, staff from the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and a representative from Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne’s office met Tuesday to detail the official uses of a $493,000 BP recovery grant allocated to East Baton Rouge Parish.
Of those funds, $200,000 will be combined with equal contributions from the state tourism department, headed by Dardenne, and the CVB.
CVB President and CEO Paul Arrigo said he and the mayor have both had discussions with the Superfest organizer in recent weeks.
Arrigo said once the state formally approves the uses for the BP grant money, a firm commitment will be made to bring the concert back next year. “I think there will be an official announcement made shortly,” he said.
Concert producer Quint Davis refused via his spokesman to answer questions.
“We do not have anything to announce at this point and feel that an interview today would be premature,” Davis’ spokesman said in an email.
Arrigo said after Superfest is secured for 2012, he would like the same group of stakeholders to come up with an incentive plan to keep Superfest in Baton Rouge for at least five more years.
He said private sponsorships also may be considered to help keep the concert long-term.
“We have to (promote) the success of this event,” Arrigo said. “It’s much better to (promote) success than to subsidize failure.”
Arrigo said the CVB was in a position to make a five-year commitment to supporting the concert.
“But to what extent? I can’t say right now,” he said.
Bayou Country Superfest was born in Baton Rouge two years ago, when local and state entities paid a total of $900,000 to Davis for bringing it here.
But last year the Metro Council voted to remove its share of funding, mostly because of a lack of accountability for how the funding would be used.
Davis has since hinted that without a local subsidy, he would take the concert to a different venue.
Late last year, BP made $30 million available to the state earmarked for tourism.
The money has been allocated to each parish through Dardenne’s office.
In addition to Superfest, BP funds will be used to redesign the CVB website, provide a summer advertising campaign, and promote and enhance 2012 events like the Pennington Balloon Championships; the USS Kidd Fourth of July Spectacular; and industry conventions scheduled to draw out-of-towners into the parish.
Holden said he wants to assign another $100,000 of the money that was otherwise not specifically designated toward other Baton Rouge draws like the Old State Capitol; the Baton Rouge Sports Foundation; Louisiana Museum of Art; LSU AgCenter’s Burden gardens; and the Louisiana Marathon, a multi-race format with a marathon, half-marathon, relays and a 5K scheduled for January.