Aug 10 2017

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Who dropped the ball? City, NMCAC point finger at each other for loss of festival

Conjunto Fest5By Pete Banda
Managing Editor


For the first time since 1990, San Benito will not be hosting a Conjunto music festival. Last week came the shocking news that the 26th annual Conjunto Fest would be cancelled and the community reacted – with everything from disappointment, to rage, to confusion. According the City, Narcisco Martinez Cultural Arts Center Director Rogelio Nunez chose to cease negotiations on his own, but Nunez maintains the City’s negotiating tactics and lack of communication is what killed the popular festival. The City points to a changing business model as reason for the disagreement.
“The City Manager has been meeting with the Center’s representative for almost a year, informing him early-on that there would be changes to the agreement, as we are changing the City’s business model which is an evolving plan,” San Benito Public Relations Director Martha McClain said in a statement. “The City was prepared to reduce the costs to $7,000, however the Center’s representative chose instead to cease negotiations and cancel the event.”
The reduction to $7,000 came after an initial charge of $17,000. According to McClain, that initial charge came straight from the City Ordinance.
“As per City ordinance, the actual proposed cost for this three-day event included $4,690 for police as the event would be selling beer, as per city ordinance. Other costs included a land rental for three days totaling $4,690, three-day event permit at $225, and other fees such as breakage/clean-up fees for the three days,” read the statement.”
The cost of renting the land was billed at $0.10 per sq. ft., according to Nunez.
Even with the reduction in fees, however, Nunez claims the Center would have a hard time meeting the financial commitment. According to financial statements from last year’s festival, the Center made a profit of just under $5,000 last year, all of which went towards funding the many events the NMCA hold throughout the year.

For what it’s worth, the City did confirm their interest in hosting a similar music festival, though not in response to the loss of Conjunto Fest.
“The City is exploring the possibility of creating some type of music/cultural event, not necessarily in response to the cancellation, but as a means to help raise funds for the San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum. It would not be a replacement of the Conjunto Festival. Some early thoughts for the event include various genres of music, a car show and arts and crafts,” McClain added in the statement.
Despite numerous requests from surrounding cities to move the festival, Nunez stated he has not considered that an option.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2017/08/10/who-dropped-the-ball-city-nmcac-point-finger-at-each-other-for-loss-of-festival/

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