Jacksonville’s internationally-recognized crowd-funding festival One Spark will go on, after all, organizers announced Monday.
Money problems forced organizers to cancel earlier this year, but now the event is slated for October.
A new venue and a charge for admission are among the changes for the October reboot.
One Spark started roughly four years ago as one of the country’s first festivals formed around crowdfunding and startup culture. Hundreds of entrepreneurs or “creators” packed Hemming Park to try and win favor with potential investors.
But costs ballooned and accusations of financial mismanagement flew, resulting in a dramatically shorter event last year.
One Spark chairman and local real estate developer Peter Rummell said partnering with the Jacksonville Jaguars and holding the event at Everbank Field this year should help the festival break even.
Rummell said between costs like street closures and wireless internet, One Spark ran about $1 million annually — much of that coming from his own pocket. This time, festival goers will be charged $5 for advance tickets and $10 at the door.
“We’ve completely rebooted the business plan and getting it over here (Everbank Field) eliminates some enormous costs; the little wifi example I gave earlier was just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “We also think that there’s opportunity for sponsorship. … Downtown just isn’t built for this kind of thing and this is.”
Mayor Lenny Curry attended the announcement alongside Rummell and other organizers and said the event is important for growing the River City’s profile.
“If our city is going to end in the destination that we want it to end — which is a great city, filled with people of all backgrounds, people choosing to want to continue to live here — we are going to have to be a city that attracts ideas and attracts capital,” he said.
One Spark will kick off with a concert at the adjacent Daily’s Place amphitheater Oct. 5, followed by the creator showcase, from Oct. 6-7.
Matthew Farina contributed to this report.
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