Mega Fest news just keeps getting worse

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2003

Tribune Editorial Staff

&uot;It's like an onion," someone said this week about the Tri-State Mega Festival & Fair. "Each layer just gets worse."

A more true statement cannot describe the ever-complicated layers of the much-hyped, little attended event. That is, unless one draws the analogy that the festival was like the children's fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes." No one wanted to point out the obvious.

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Many people were skeptical from the beginning. Others, and we were included among them, were skeptical but took a wait-and-see attitude.

When organizers first let out the estimated attendance of the five-day festival, the numbers seemed more than a little optimistic. Some people might say ludicrous.

Would 500,000 people come to Ironton in the course of less than a week to attend a first-time festival?

That would mean that every single citizen from Lawrence County and almost all of Boyd County, Ky., would need to attend -- each day.

It seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky, but Lord knows Ironton needed to believe in something positive.

First, organizers blamed the weather; then they lowered ticket prices. And as the festival grounded to a premature halt, tempers flared over hopes dashed, promises not kept and financial ruin.

Perhaps what the festival needed had more to do with planning than a few raindrops, more to do with financial solvency than drawing the masses into the gates.

Now as the crews are nearly finished cleaning up the site, few people have received payment for their services. From the circus performers to the police who worked to protect the crowds, little good appears to have come from this.

In the process of trying to make this great thing, no one bothered to see if people would pay for it. Just because something is available does not mean people will buy it.

Yes, as the layers of the muddy financial mess are peeled away, each layer smells a bit more acrid than the previous one and more problems seem to spring forth.