Brad Hoffman of Live Wire Media & Events got the Ocean City Council's approval Tuesday night to host Jellyfish Festival 2020.

(Feb. 21, 2020) The Jellyfish Festival will return this summer, but with some edits. 

“It [Jellyfish 2019] was a great event, and we learned a lot by working with the Special Events team,” Brad Hoffman of Live Wire Media & Events told the City Council Tuesday. “It’s going to be just as good, or better, in 2020.” 

Hoffman said immediately after last year’s festival, he, City Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller and Private Events Manager Lisa Mitchell discussed ways to improve the concert-sports entertainment event package.

The major focus was simply downsizing the festival’s components. Rather than a three-day festival, Jellyfish 2020 will be a two-day event on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28. 

Instead of having three stages as it did last year, Jellyfish 2020 will have two stages, which will be moved from the south end of the beach to the north end. 

The festival’s fitness zone will be reduced in size by one-fourth and its fee will be eliminated to encourage more participation, with Hoffman calling last year’s effort ambitious. 

There will be no skateboard ramp this year, and overall the event’s square footage would be reduced by one-third. 

Aside from these changes, the DNA of the festival would remain the same, with vendors, freestyle Moto X performance, a Fat Tire Bike zone, an Ultimate Frisbee tournament and a surfing tournament among other activities. 

Councilman Matt James asked Hoffman who his target audience for the festival is, and Hoffman said this year’s focus would be younger families, with adults ranging from 25-35 years of age. 

Hoffman said last year’s rock-heavy music acts were great, but they mostly catered to an older crowd who were less likely to attend the festival because of job commitments. 

“We have some great festivals with Springfest and Sunfest that address an older demographic, and I think we want to be a little a younger” Hoffman said. “That was the feedback from the crowds that came through, that was the feedback from the audience and that was the feedback from business owners that saw what it could be and what it was last year.”

James said with this shift in age demographic, Hoffman should reach out to Tom Perlozzo, director of Worcester County Recreation and Parks, Economic Development and Tourism, to see if the festival could be held in conjunction with the Great Inflatable Race, which is slated for the same weekend. 

The previous week, the council had approved $25,000 in tourism funds to the event, with the condition that Perlozzo get the event to Ocean City, rather than its original destination in West Ocean City. 

James believed hosting the two events together would be a great way to up the ante and draw even more people to the resort. 

Councilman Mark Paddack agreed to an extent, as he didn’t know if the trademarked inflatable obstacle course could be combined with the city event. 

Hoffman said he was open to the idea of sharing space with the event, and mutually benefiting from the crowds they drew. 

From the city, Hoffman requested vehicular access to the beach for set-up, parking considerations for staff and performers, permission to use tents, port-o-lets, beach trailers and lastly the use of the Caroline Street Comfort Station stage for staff. 

Council voted unanimously to approve Hoffman’s request and Jellyfish Festival 2020. 

“I know your passion for this, and the way you’ve reduced the size and done some of the things to increase the impact, I think will really help the event. I wish you the best of luck and I know it’s going to be a big success,” Mayor Rick 

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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