At the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Advisory Board (CVA) meeting last Thursday afternoon, the board was given event reports for past, current, and future events including the Fall Concert Series, the Island Folk Festival, Beerfest, and the upcoming SPI Marathon.
With the Fall Concert Series nearing its end, the CVA Board requested details about the event from the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). In an email from Roadway Productions, the company producing the event, tentative results were given, but with two concerts left, there is still some accounting to be done. So far, the series has been a success with some concerts generating 800 to 900 in attendance.
Audiences have grown to twice the size since the beginning of the series, and the Island has seen an increase in out-of-town visitors. Marketing has been successful, but the CVB believes there is some room for improvement. When the series is complete, the contract states that the production company has 30 days to submit a report and 60 days to finalize the report.
Although the CVA Board has seen success, they are requesting that the CVB conduct surveys and get more firm numbers rather than estimates so as to get a clear picture of what has been done and what can be improved upon in the future. Kerry Schwartz, owner of Island Native and sponsor of the event, said. “I think it’s good for the city. I think it does put so called heads in beds.” He pointed out hat there have been a lot of faces and visitors at the concerts. The CVB expects continued success for the last couple of weekends.
Aarin Hartwell, cofounding producer of the Island Folk Festival, gave the board a post event report for the festival that took place on Sept. 5 and 6. The CVB sponsored the event with $7,000 for the marketing budget. Hartwell gave a thorough report showing documents on media marketing strategies, invoices, surveys, and budget details. She recently attended statewide music festivals to make contacts and solidify sponsors for next year’s festival. Some improvements were discussed, and Hartwell said that for next year, they would like to start earlier, spend more and add elements to their strategy. The board was pleased with the outcome and future projections.
The CVA was also given a presentation by Rachel Flores, Director of the CVB, covering the Beerfest Event, which took place in August 2014. The board contributed $25,000 to the SPI Beerfest Organization and has not received the final reports that were required by the contract within 60 days of completion of the event.
The CVB has been trying to contact the organization; however, they have not been able to reach event coordinators nor have they received any return calls or emails. Of even more concern is the fact that the contract came with a stipulation that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to Sea Turtle Inc., and as of Tuesday of last week, Sea Turtle Inc. has not received a payment. The CVB is expected to be notified as soon as that payment goes through.
Board members are concerned that the situation sounds fraudulent as they have seen a breach of contract. Further attempts will be made to contact the organization to get a handle on the situation. The CVA Board will be contacting the city’s legal department to discuss further action. This incident has also encouraged board members to do a better job of screening future applicants who are seeking sponsorship from the board.
In November 2015, the CVA will be sponsoring the South Padre Marathon in the amount of $90,000. The funds had been held with a contingency that the organization raise at least $50,000 in sponsorships. They were released at the meeting last Thursday after a presentation that showed over $75,000 already raised with sponsorships from L&F Distributors and Anheuser Busch, the Hilton Garden Inn, Clayton’s Beach Bar, Schlitterbahn, Valley Baptist, and more. HEB may potentially be the title sponsor for the event with meetings taking place later this week. Billboards will be posted around the state to attract runners to the marathon, and the marathon will be a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
So far, the large scale event has received positive feedback Valleywide.

Abbey Kunkle