By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Norman Music Festival drew 60,000 people to town, and those visitors generated an estimated $1 million worth of new tax dollars for Norman as a result, said Stefanie Brickman of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“There was nowhere to stand, nowhere to sit, a full house,” said Michael Newcomer, Bison Witches Bar and Deli bartender. “It was crazy. It was a very fun atmosphere. People were dancing and having a good time.”
The music festival is even bigger than University of Oklahoma football days for the downtown pub.
“This is our big weekend of the year,” Newcomer said.
Brickman said the tax estimate was generated using industry-standard formulas. Great weather on Saturday and the caliber of bands contributed to the increase in attendance over last year, said Steven White, coordinator for Norman Music Festival.
On Friday, a sudden downpour sent festival attendees scurrying for cover.
“There were so many people in the 300 block of east Main Street that took shelter from the rain, it looked like a 1960s sit-in,” White said.
White and his crew monitored weather conditions with a meteorologist to tell people when to seek cover.
Partiers also were well-behaved this year.
“There was only one arrest during that three-day period on the footprint of the Norman Music Festival,” Norman Police Lt. James Callaghan said.
Brickman said additional activities on the periphery of the festival added to ambiance.
“We loved that there were other events happening around the Norman Music Festival, with the Lion’s Club Carnival, the music at Midway Deli and the Lebanese Festival, which all add to making Norman a great visitor’s destination,” Brickman said.
There was something for all ages to do throughout the day Saturday, and the festival generated people walking through central Norman, she said.
The Downtown Art Walk and other entertainment venues opening downtown have increased foot traffic and business in the area.
“I’ve been here just shy of two years, and in those two years, Main Street has blown up,” Newcomer said.
The festival ran Thursday through Saturday, and downtown Main Street was closed to vehicle traffic for the event on Friday and Saturday nights.
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