Carmel sets dates for proposed film and music festival

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A reined-in budget for Carmel’s planned film and music festival has not stopped organizers from nailing down a date for the inaugural event.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and Nancy Heck, director of community relations and economic development, initially requested $425,000 from the 2020 budget be dedicated to the planning of a film and music festival. Organizers hope the event—now slated for May 14-22, 2021—will attract visitors in the Indianapolis area for the Indy 500.

In October, the council voted unanimously to fund only $50,000 of that request. Despite the smaller funding pool, Heck gave the first of the festival’s planned monthly reports to the city council Monday to announce the formation of a not-for-profit that will manage the event.

Board members include former city councilor Ron Carter, former CEO of Orchard Software Rob Bush and Dant Advocacy President Miriam Dant, an attorney specializing in government affairs and economic development.

“Our next step is to select a date when the initial board meeting can happen,” Heck said.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Heck said the unnamed festival will eventually incorporate other arts—such as dance and the culinary arts.

“We want the first festival to be high enough quality to bring people back,” Heck said.

Heck said she envisions Carmel’s festival as an event that makes an immediate impact from the time visitors arrive, like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. In addition to educational seminars and music at the farmers market, Heck said tourists might also be greeted by themed cocktails or specials at local businesses.

In addition to South by Southwest, Heck compared her vision for the festival to the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Council Vice President Sue Finkam noted, after looking at financials, that the Spoleto’s nearly $10 million budget far outpaces those funds available for the local plans.

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2 thoughts on “Carmel sets dates for proposed film and music festival

  1. I look forward to the film that uses this film festival as the metaphor for everything that is wrong with Brainardism. Maybe Hallmark will produce it as the neo-It Was a Wonderful Life Until the bond market crashed and Mr. Potter Bought the Debt for Pennies.