Georgefest History and Marketing Research

 

Original concept sketch of the George, later adopted as the Georgefest event icon, sketched by Melynda Thorpe, 2013.

In 2014, the southern Utah public relations and marketing agency Emceesquare Media began formally formulating ideas for a monthly first Friday event to be located at the heart of Historic Downtown St. George, Utah. Then titled George Streetfest, the event brand and design gained initial enthusiasm and vote of sponsorship from St. George City, Downtown Merchants Group, and St. George Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Symbolism of the event icon broken down.

Launching June 5, 2015, the event has become a point of pride for southern Utah artists, crafters, musicians, entertainers, and foodies. Objectives include promoting the best of southern Utah, attracting tourists, and providing a consistent and safe community gathering for families on a monthly basis. Often referred to simply as “George,” it is an event that boasts something for everyone, with primary focus on demographic ages 18-45.

Georgefest vendors enjoy selling their art and crafts to consistent first Friday crowds.

On the afternoon of the first Friday of each month, St. George City closes Main and Tabernacle Streets at the center of town. A concert stage and sound system are erected on Main Street, and the event emerges from the ground up filling two city blocks with what can best be described as a tent city featuring artists, crafters and musicians. Key components of the event include a signature Main Street free concert, street buskers performing for tips, Food Truck Village, George Jazz Garden for adults 21 and over, youth DJ dance party, George Jr. Village, and a street market featuring local artists, crafters, and merchants.

Aerial view of the Main Street Market of Georgefest.

While event organizers set an initial goal of reaching 1,000 attendees. That goal was shattered at the June 2015 launch with an estimated 3,000 attendees filling Main Street to participate in the inaugural and historical ribbon cutting, and grand opening of the event then named George Streetfest. Designed and managed by Emceesquare Media Inc., a southern Utah-based public relations agency, the event often dubbed “George” was the first outdoor community event to receive both sponsorship from St. George City, and the privilege of serving alcohol outdoors, a rarity in southern Utah.

Crowds exceeded expectation from the onset of Georgefest, indicating that southern Utah was ready for a nightlife event like this.

In its first two years, George has grown from a business model operation to a non-profit organization (with a name changes in 2017 to Georgefest). Each month, thousands of attendees gather at the center of town to participate. Social media channels are active and relative, with survey results demonstrating that Facebook is a key contributor to the event’s success.

With more than 20 years experience working in public relations and creative services, Georgefest founder and executive director Melynda Thorpe initiated this documentation and research effort for the purpose of capturing community reactions and event phenomena for the purpose of evaluating attendance motivators and determinants of the event’s success. The purpose of this compendium of information is to provide event organizers with research and data analysis that may be helpful in creating longevity for Georgefest. Also, to provide key historical event documents, sample documents and proposals for continuing the event with continuity. Included in appendixes are original event plan and proposals to St. George City, operational documents, job descriptions and key brand information.

Georgefest compendium