Yesterday I asked for suggestions on how to fix Mayfair and while the comments were sparse, I heard a lot of the same thing, which has been my number one suggestion: get rid of the fence.
I heard that in order to make up the revenue generated by charging admission, Mayfair would need to raise an additional $125,000. So in order to make up the gap in the funding would be to reduce costs and/or increase revenue from other sources.
Love it or hate it, but ArtsQuest has done an excellent job of keeping its name out there and hyping up Musikfest all year. Because of that people are talking about it. They know what’s going on because things are communicated well in advance and clearly. In contrast, Mayfair is almost unheard of throughout the year and when it’s almost time for the actual festival, finding information is difficult. You can’t even find a map of the festival.
Some will say that it’s not fair to compare Mayfair with Musikfest because Musikfest has grown so large it’s really a totally different type of event. So while Mayfair can learn from Musikfest in the arena of sponsoring stages or musical acts, perhaps a better comparison of a successful event that’s similar in size would be the Celtic Classic.
Celtic Classic prides itself for remaining a free event. In order to do so the Celtic Cultural Alliance has done a tremendous job with community outreach and off-season fundraising. By holding events during the year they not only have the support of the community which garners volunteers to help run the festival, but they actively fundraise so the revenue to fund the event doesn’t all have to come from the event itself.
So after dealing with eliminating the fence and getting people to help volunteer, the rest of the public still needs a reason to attend. Mayfair is supposed to be an art festival but some local bands, the third place finisher on a reality singing show, and some fried food seem to have taken over as the focus of the event and the artistic exhibitors are just kind of “there.”
I’m not sure how to fix the problem of not having a lot of artistic vendors because they won’t come if there aren’t crowds and potential customers, and the crowds won’t come without a lot of artists. One thing that I think would be nice to see would be more opportunities to just appreciate art, and different kinds of art. Music is nice and so are wooden bullfrogs, but performing artists, hands on activities that aren’t just for kids would certainly be neat to see. Even something unique like a blacksmith or something. At this point I’m just throwing out ideas, which is something I have to wonder if others are doing, even if they’re not in a position to make changes.
Lastly, the elephant in the room is the destruction of Cedar Beach Park. It seems like the city just doesn’t care and Mayfair just isn’t prepared to deal with the weather that comes up every year. With a careful assessment of the layout and perhaps even reducing its size, it might work out so that it would not only tear up the park less, but it would feel “bigger” because things would be more densely situated.
In the end, I hope Mayfair can pull itself out of the muddy mess that it’s currently in and go on to prosper in the future.