Mount Holly concert series looks to attract larger crowd

by Sarah Melton

Mount Hollydays’ Alive After Five summer concert series may undergo a few changes next year in an effort to draw more people.

Mount Hollydays president Carol Ann Featherstone and board of directors member Todd Young recently brought their ideas for the concert series to Mount Holly City Council members. The nonprofit organization has been working with the Belmont Merchants Association to learn how it has organized its successful concert series.

“We thought we were having a great time and doing good work, and then we found out there are models out there blowing us out of the water,” Young said. “This is the first year Mount Hollydays put on Alive After Five concerts. We used this year as a learning tool. That learning tool told us we need to listen to the people showing up.”

Last year, Alive After Five featured four Thursday night concerts from June through September in downtown Mount Holly. However, Young said that Thursday nights did not work well for the attendees, who had to work the following day. Also, some folks did not care for the bands, he said.

The Belmont Merchants Association’s Friday Night Live concert series typically draws 15,000 people to downtown Belmont. That influx of people has caused surrounding restaurants to see a revenue increase from $3,000 to $10,000 per day around the time of the concert series.

But how can Mount Hollydays attract numbers as high as those? Featherstone and Young proposed increasing the number of concerts from four to eight in the summer. The hours would also change from 6 to 9 p.m. to 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

A Charlotte booking agency would help Mount Hollydays bring in popular entertainers, such as The Embers and Chairmen of the Board. Also, a beer and wine garden would generate more revenue.

Mount Hollydays also wants to change the event location to between Catawba Street and Glendale Avenue to accommodate as many as 15,000 people. The location would provide more parking for attendees and vendors.

“We have come up with ideas to make Alive After Five viable and economically sound,” Young said. “We have partnerships in our community. We are putting all of our financial and business tools together so it’s not just a bunch of people wanting to get together, do a good thing and shoot from the hip. We have an organized plan.”

Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough asked Police Chief David Belk for his perspective on any safety issues that might arise with the proposed changes. Belk said that the city would need more emergency personnel manning the streets, but parking would be the biggest issue to tackle.

Councilman Jim Hope said he wanted to see some final numbers before voting for the city to help sponsor the event. “First and foremost, we need to know what it is going to cost when you are talking about the number of people it is going to affect and the budget,” he said.

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