|Detroit's Memorial Day Festival Uncertain.
||[Apr. 13th, 2005|02:10 pm]
In today's paper, the Detroit Free Press reports that financial difficulty might kill the Memorial Day festival.
Kevin Saunderson meets up with the Detroit City Council, otherwise known as the League of Doom, to discuss a $5 admission fee to the planned event to take place at the end of May.
If the Council rejects this notion, then Saunderson will most likely halt the event, ending the event that has experienced financial difficulty since it began in 2000.
In his presentation to the council, Saunderson will cite a study by the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, which stated that the 2002 DEMF drew 1.5 million visitors and put $94.8 million into the coffers of area businesses.
"When it's bringing that kind of money into the city, there's no way this thing should be in the red," Saunderson said.
If producer Kevin Saunderson gets his way, the council will venture into uncharted territory and allow him to charge admission next month at city-owned Hart Plaza.
If the council votes no, Saunderson said his Fuse-In fest probably won't happen. And for the first time since 1999, Memorial Day weekend techno -- along with its hundreds of thousands of fans -- would be absent from Detroit's riverfront.
"If this doesn't pass," he said, "we start looking ahead to 2006."
While angry creditors finger May as the most culpable figure behind Movement's debts, some say Saunderson also deserves blame. May took the festival's reins in 2003; Saunderson came aboard three weeks before the 2004 event as registered agent for the newly formed Movement 2004 limited liability corporation.
What may have remained a quiet series of disputes has taken on heightened importance as Saunderson prepares to face the City Council, pushing the festival's finances from the private realm into the public sphere. Despite his formal separation from May, many insist he retains responsibility for Movement's finances as he charges ahead with Fuse-In plans.
"He doesn't have a clean slate. A clean slate would be getting everybody paid and not hiding behind a new corporation," Elmir said. "What he's asking is that the city give him this privilege when he's a documented mismanager with a proven track record of helping screw this thing up."
Amid the growing animosity, the festival's defenders say it's vital that the public grasps the bigger picture: Movement's money problems don't rest in the hands of any single individual.
Derrick Ortencio, hired by May as Movement director, said the fest's greatest obstacle was the city's withdrawal of funding -- an early blow that created a domino effect of difficulties.
I don't know about anyone else, but in Saunderson's hands, I don't hold out much faith in this event.
I know of at least one guy who worked for him who had tons of trouble getting paid for his services.
As for the city of Detroit, they are also to blame. It is part of their modern history, and the Council is not only difficult to deal with for artists like May and Saunderson . . . they're a handful for the mayor, and they're generally regarded as useless princes and princesses in a kingdom with empty bank accounts.
The city of Detroit is under a financial crisis. The city barely has enough money to cover its own expenses on costs that are priorities.
Sponsorship shouldn't be too much trouble to handle. If the artists frown over names like Ford Motors involved, then where are the alternatives? Show the money!