By Jordan Puckett
The Bethel Arts and Music Festival has been discontinued after a disappointing turnout for this year’s event in May.
The festival provided a venue for local artists to display and sell their art. Local bands would also perform at the event.
“Whenever you start an event like this, you expect a buildup over the first few years,” said BAMFest committee chair Judi Adams. “This was our fourth year and our lowest attendance.”
In the first couple years, attendance reached over 2,500. This year, the event had a turnout of less than half that number and much of the crowd was made up of the vendors, the artists, and their families.
Adams admitted that the cool, wet weather was likely a contributing factor in the low attendance this year.
“I have been to events in the same sort of weather though,” she said. “I carried an umbrella and so did many other people. If people were interested, they would have come.”
Money for the BAMFest was raised through donations and raffle tickets, as well as a sponsorship by the Bethel Business Association. Adams said the event was not worth the money required to make it happen if the community did not support it.
“The decision was made not just because of the financial aspect though,” Adams said. “You try to find something that fits the community. This wasn’t it.”
The committee is currently looking for fresh ideas that will better suit the community.
“The most disappointing part of this is that the money we raised went to a scholarship,” Adams said. “Now we won’t have the money to do that.”
Last year, two $650 scholarships were awarded from money raised during the BAMFest. This year, one $1,400 scholarship was awarded. Adams said that was “huge” for a small event like the BAMFest.
“We’re not discouraged at all,” Adams said of the BAMFest committee. “We’ll think of something else for the community. The BAMFest has simply been put aside for something hopefully bigger and better.”
The committee is currently open to new ideas for an event to replace the BAMFest.