(July 5, 2019) Despite promoters reporting reasonably strong attendance figures for the inaugural Jellyfish Festival last month, Ocean City resident George Leukel questioned those assertions during the City Council meeting on Monday, while reiterating criticisms voiced when the event was being formulated.
“I was here about a year ago when we were talking about the Jellyfish Festival,” he said.
At that time, Leukel said he pointed out the proposed event dates would be poorly timed, as they would coincide with the well-established Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware.
“I told you that the Firefly Festival was going to eat up all the music fans in the area, and it was a bad idea to hold them on the same weekend, but you shot me down,” he said.
Billed as a celebration of “the art of music and sports,” the three-day Jellyfish Festival was held June 21-23 and sponsored by the Town of Ocean City in conjunction with Livewire Media and Culture Changers.
After the event transpired, Leukel said he was surprised to read media coverage where show promoters said crowd sizes went beyond expectations.
“I sent the mayor a batch of photos and you can see … you’re lucky if you had 500 people on Friday, maybe a couple thousand on Saturday and maybe a hundred people [for] religious services on Sunday,” he said.
In addition to Saturday’s musical acts — Styx, Crack the Sky, The Ravyns and Stone Senate — the Jellyfish Festival featured a slate of newer acts on “Fresh Friday,” and focused on Christian-rock acts for “Music with a Message Sunday.”
If future editions of the Jellyfish Festival are held, Leukel suggested alternative dates be considered and also proposed partnering with Firefly promoters Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice.
“If you’ve seen the photos I sent the mayor, you know their festival was packed to the reams [and] you couldn’t get any more people in the Dover Racetrack,” he said. “Our beaches were empty [so] I would suggest that we hire somebody else.”
Councilman Mark Paddack thanked Leukel for providing the documentation and photographs comparing the simultaneous festivals.
“I’m going to reach out to [Live Wire Media owner Brad] Hoffman and … Salty [Selt] to discuss some of the things that you had put in here,” he said.
Paddack also confirmed a Jellyfish Festival wrap-up report would be forthcoming to the mayor and council.
Mayor Rick Meehan also acknowledged reviewing Leukel’s festival related data
“George, I even brought the pictures with me,” he said.
Meehan said Leukel outlined valid points in an accompanying letter.
“I have your letter … and agree to some of the things [but] not all of the things in your letter,” he said.
Noting the event is still in its infancy, Meehan said tweaks are virtually inevitable.
“In a growing event, changes always have to be modified and made,” he said. “I’m sure when that’s brought back to the mayor and City Council as a whole, I think we’ll have those discussions.”