COLUMBIA — Thumper Entertainment is in line to receive $15,000 in tourism development funds to offset advertising and entertainment costs for the inaugural Stephens Lake Park Music Festival.
Approval of the tourism funds for the festival goes before the Columbia City Council when it meets Monday evening.
The council will hear a separate request for $3,800 in sports development funding to the Country Club of Missouri for the 2012 United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley Futures Event from July 6 through July 9.
The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau has provided funds for "festivals, events and attractions that ... can increasingly attract visitors from outside the local market" since 1999, according to its website.
Amy Schneider, director of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the funding advisory board looks at an event's future and potential to grow when recommending requests to the council.
The festival, which will feature Lucinda Williams as its headline act, will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. July 24 at Stephens Lake Park. It is targeted at a younger crowd, ages 18 to 34.
Because Lucinda Williams is an internationally-known performer, the board believes the festival will attract people from all across the state and region, Schneider said. The board saw that draw as an opportunity to bring "heads into beds."
That is to say, the music festival has the potential to attract thousands of visitors to Columbia and create more overnight stays in area hotels during a time that is traditionally low in business, according to a memo to the council from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Tourism officials estimate 3,000 to 4,000 people will attend. They've also said that the festival has the potential to grow into a multiple-day event and become the summer "sister festival" of the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival.
Tickets for this year's festival can be purchased at the Blue Note, the MSA Box Office, area Walgreens locations and online at stephenslakepark.com.
The $3,800 requested by the Country Club of Missouri will be used to assist in the cost of tournament officials and awards.
The tourism development board said the tournament is an opportunity for Columbia to attract highly ranked sectional junior players and visitors from across the state. Because it is a three-day event, the tournament will also generate overnight stays in hotels during a time of lower occupancy.
The funding will help keep the tournament in Columbia for the next two years and could set up the city to host larger tournaments in the future.
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