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Video: Festival Organizers Voice Concerns About CVB Funding

COLUMBUS,Miss. (WCBI)- The Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s festival grants committee opened the floor to talk about grant guidelines Tuesday night.

“We want to make sure those events we fund are good for our community and bring new dollars in tourist money that people are staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurant and buying gas locally and shopping,” says Executive Director Nancy Carpenter.

Festivals are split into two categories: A tourism division and a quality of life division. A quality of life event is an event that draws people from the area. A maximum of $8,000 is awarded to any specific event. Any of the amount funded by the CVB may be used for entertainment. A tourism event is categorized as an event that draws visitors from greater than 100 miles of Columbus. A maximum of $15,000 is awarded to a tourism event.  25% of that amount funded in the tourism division can be used for entertainment. Organizers are frustrated with the limited amount they’re allowed to use for only entertainment.

“Funding is the most important part of this component. And when you put limits on the biggest items on your budget, which is entertainment, it effects the overall quality of what you have to offer. Why would you limit the one item that you need the most!?” says Townsend Blues Festival Committee Organizer Jeff Smith.

Mike Fittes says while he’s grateful for the funding, the amount the CVB currently offers just isn’t enough.

“We feel like we’ve been somewhat limited. Entertainment is costly for quality entertainment so, I think they need to restructure their thinking as far as their guidelines go is what my personal feeling is,” says Fittes.

The committee will meet again next Wednesday at 9a.m. to come up with recommendations from Tuesday night’s meeting.