Our Views: Bayou Country Superfest meets competition, festival woes _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Luke Bryan closes out a Louisiana Saturday night during the fifth annual Bayou Country Superfest at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. ORG XMIT: BAT1405242234400204

When you’ve got a good thing going, like Bayou Country Superfest, you still have to recognize the forces of the market.

That is what is happening with increased competition for big festival-style events like the Tiger Stadium country music concert over Memorial Day weekend.

Tickets are still available all three days — and if you are a fan, these are still great buys. But slower ticket sales are realities of an industry with “a festival on every corner,” in the words of a promoter of the Cajun Country Jam at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, during the Independence Day weekend.

Last month, concert trade publication Pollstar wrote that 23 “major” 2016 festivals had been canceled. Except for a few in Australia and Asia, all were country music shows.

“In general, we have seen some weakness in the country festival market this year, and several shows have been downsized, canceled or just decided to skip this year. We may have reached the saturation point given the current talent pool,” Pollstar’s editor-in-chief, Gary Bongiovanni, wrote in an email.

The superfest is an entertainment business, and it may suffer some impact from the sharp slowdown in the oil and gas industry in Louisiana, but it may just be a matter of competition having its effect of dividing the market. Taxpayers have a stake in the event’s success, since local and state government kick in direct subsidies totaling $300,000. The city-parish also rebates sales taxes on ticket sales. That underscores the need for local and state leaders to make sure that taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment. Superfest usually offers a great show, and the weather should be good for fans and musicians, so we hope for another good Superfest in Baton Rouge.