Mammoth Town Council granted Sean Turner and Bluesapalooza a $90,000 “reimbursable grant” at its meeting Wednesday.
The money’s reimbursed if the event is profitable.
This is on top of a $200,000 loan approved by Mammoth Lakes Tourism a few weeks back, along with a $50,000 reimbursable grant if the event makes money.
According to the letter from Mammoth Brewing Company in the staff report for Wednesday’s meeting, “Bluesapalooza and the Mammoth Festival of Beers traditionally brings … an estimated attendance of 5,500 from outside the area,” meaning, “an additional $600,000 is spent on lodging by attendees over the weekend. 2,000 rooms for an average of two nights at $150 per night – conservative.”
Now I understand there should be a displacement argument – if a Bluesapalooza guest isn’t renting the room then someone else likely is so it isn’t $600,000 free and clear, but then, Mammoth Lakes Tourism never makes such realistic assumptions when inventing its own math.
I did speak with one hotel operator who said Bluesapalooza is usually worth a 10% bump in rate.
The big question: Is Bluesapalooza worth all this largesse?
Hell, we spent the last year handing out millions of dollars to folks in the form of business and rental and other assistance with no expectation that they’d provide anything in return. At least in this case, we get a four-day show. And think of the risk being taken – never mind the usual threats of fire, weather, et. al. He’s at the whim of Governor Nuisance in terms of Covid rules.
I did speak to Turner post-meeting Wednesday. The rental agreement for the property is still not signed, so the event is anything but assured.
If it does move forward, maximum attendance would be determined by the state. Turner said rumor at this time is for a 5,000-person limit on capacity.
Extra protocols may be required in terms of temperature checks or proof of vaccination.
Even though costs promise to be higher, one thing Turner said would not be compromised or reduced is the talent budget.
Ticket prices for the event have been bumped as a result of anticipation of higher production costs and limits on attendance. A four-day ticket now costs $350, bumped from $295, and may be adjusted upward further if/when the musical lineup is announced.
If Bluesapalooza moves forward, it would represent the first in-person event of its kind in the state of California since the onset of the pandemic.
As for the headline to this piece … Mammoth’s Town Council held a joint workshop with its Recreation Commission on Wednesday.
Observation: When people spend 90 minutes agreeing with each other, they mistake solidarity for productivity.
Dan O’Connell did impress me by referencing the breaking of the “Gordian Knot” in terms of getting the MUF/CRC built. Rather than explain here, why don’t you all break out those Smartphones and Google it?
Recreation Commissioner Laurel Martin warned that now that the project is underway, the Town “needs to take control of the narrative” because it’s “so difficult to combat misinformation.”
Not so sure what that misinformation is – I’m assuming misinformation is simply information that is not pleasing to one’s ear.
But good news for Martin. I think the Town’s strategy has been to assign Stu Brown his 87th task – he now writes Council recaps and sends them out via email blast on Thursdays. Stu’s News redux. I just read the first one. Mayor Sauser will be disappointed. Nowhere within are the words heroic and Sauser placed next to each other.
So I did it for him. Heroic Sauser. Now Bill can rip this page out as a souvenir.
Question: Can no one else within Town government other than Stu Brown summarize a meeting or write a coherent sentence? I mean, they have assistants and deputy assistants for everything. Stu should be able to farm this out. That or … Can’t MLT lend somebody? They don’t have anything to do.
One thing I imagine Stu won’t recap … there was a point at the end of the joint workshop where Mayor Sauser talked about how he hasn’t heard from as many folks as he’d like, and that his door is always open, and Commissioners are welcome to swing by his house to share ideas and most likely a glass of wine.
It was awkward. It sounded like, “Hey, you’re welcome to come by and kiss my ring.”
I’ve got a better idea. Stop hiding behind the Zoom lens and start meeting in Suite Z again. Because it was pretty clear from the on-site transportation workshop on Thursday (see story p. 8) that while Town Council and Staff may be very in tune with each other, they seem far removed from their constituents.
And talk about building the church for Easter Sunday – designing a turnaround for 40’ buses at Woodman where a Chevy Astro Van would be a more realistic choice in terms of passenger volume.
One additional item from the Sterling Heights visit. It was the personal belief of Executive Director Alicia Smith that the property should become a V.A. (Veterans Administration) assisted living facility.
I’m assuming if that becomes the direction, they’ll fix the roof prior to occupancy.
That or Sterling Heights could become the solution to Bishop’s homeless parking issue. And you could offer a tarp with each room.