Mayor Tom Arceneaux says this weekend’s Crawfest is the kind of family-friendly event the City of Shreveport would like to host in its parks. He also wants to let the community know that steps have been taken to alleviate some of the inconvenience it may bring to the neighborhood.
The 5th annual Crawfest — which celebrates local musicians, bands, restaurants, food trucks, artists, and retailers — begins today and will continue through Sunday at Betty Virginia Park. Last year’s event drew over 12,000 attendees for the three-day festival.
“Any festival in a central city park will involve some inconvenience in the neighborhood,” said Arceneaux, “and the City and the sponsor are taking steps to minimize the inconvenience.
“These steps include maintaining access to many areas of the park during the festival without paying an admission fee, closing off certain streets to prevent parking on those streets, shuttles to and from the site from remote parking areas, and discontinuing live music at 8 p.m. (and at 7 p.m. on Sunday) to reduce noise after that time.”
The mayor’s office said the festival organizer has agreed to pay for all cleanup and public safety officers, fire, and law enforcement. In essence, the festival is providing a family-friendly event at the park at no cost to the City.
The mayor acknowledged the concern citizens have raised about some aspects of the festival – including whether the City should require a payment for the exclusive use of a part of the park, especially if the organizer collects admission.
The City currently does not have such a policy, and Mayor Arceneaux has directed SPAR to draft a policy to review that would deal with fees for exclusive use of park facilities, times of operation and amplified sound, and other issues raised by concerned citizens.
“With respect to whether the sponsor is for-profit or non-profit, the City views the convenience or inconvenience of the use of the park the same regardless the organization of the sponsor,” the mayor said in his recent statements. “The ultimate policy may differentiate in some respect between for-profit and non-profit ventures.”