Following lackluster attendance last year, the organizers of the Dunwoody Music Festival canceled this year’s festival and say they are regrouping and will return with a new concept in 2013.
Bill Grant, a member of the board for the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce, said there were several factors that led to the decision to call off the fourth annual Dunwoody Music Festival, which was scheduled for late October.
“We really didn’t feel that we’d sorted out our problems, so it seemed to be prudent to cancel it this year,” he said.
Organizers had hoped to try out a new venue this year instead of Brook Run Park, where the festival has been held for the past three years.
“One of problems with Brook Run is it’s so massively big,” Grant said. “Things get so spread out you don’t have the feeling of a festival.”
Festival organizers were planning to hold the event in the parking lot of Perimeter Mall, but were recently informed that the location wouldn’t work because mall regulations don’t allow exchanging money in the parking lot.
Attendance was another issue that derailed the 2012 festival, Grant said.
In past years, Grant said between 5,000 and 10,000 have come out for the Dunwoody Music Festival. But Grant said the festival really needs 35,000 to 40,000 attendees to make it a success.
“We’ve got to draw more people. In its simplest form, attendance has not been up to what we need or want,” Grant said.
Grant said nothing concrete has been decided for the next festival.
“We just need to back up and re-plan the whole thing. It’s still a viable concept, we just have yet to find the right execution,” he said. “The important message is we’re not abandoning the idea.”
Mayor Mike Davis said he was disappointed that the festival would be canceled this year. “I think it’ll come back stronger and better next year. I’m convinced we have the right people in place,” Davis said.
Davis had his own theory about what could have caused the lower attendance in 2011: “The music festival didn’t work because it didn’t have the chili cook-off.”
Davis, who won the chili cook-off in 2010, said he hopes the event will be included in next year’s festivities.
“We had a blast and a ton of people came out and tried the chili,” Davis said. “It was very popular.”
Davis said he is confident that Dunwoody residents will embrace the festival in the future.
“We have some fabulous events. Look at the Fourth of July parade. We’ve had that for 20 years. We had Lemonade Days, that was just huge this year,” Davis said. “We obviously know how to get the community out and have fun. We just didn’t do the right stuff last year for the music festival and need to rethink it.”