NEWS MEDIA RELEASE
January 17, 2016
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Contact: Marianne Hamilton
GEORGEFEST NAMES NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ST. GEORGE, UT – As Georgefest moves toward its second anniversary of operation, the monthly community nightlife celebration has officially transitioned to a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, it was announced today by Georgefest Founder and Board Chair Melynda Thorpe. Formerly managed by Emceesquare Media, Georgefest is now administered by A.R.T.S., Inc. and governed by a board of directors that also includes George Scott, vice president; Marianne Hamilton, secretary; Stephen Lambert, treasurer; and John Kessler, member at large.
According to Thorpe, “Achieving non-profit status is a significant milestone that sets the stage for George to become a permanent resident event in our community.” She added that Georgefest’s financial operations will enjoy complete transparency, while the organization’s structure is now formalized as a not-for-profit entity.
“I am very pleased to announce a Board of Directors that is comprised of recognized community leaders and volunteers,” Thorpe said. “Each has made significant contributions to the event since its inception in June 2015, and with their vision and guidance, it is my hope that this beloved monthly event will remain a permanent part of the southern Utah entertainment landscape for many years to come.”
Melynda Thorpe becomes board chair after successfully launching Georgefest (formerly George Streetfest) and guiding it to prominence in St. George. She brings an eclectic set of skills to the task, with expertise in public relations and strategic communications, documentary and corporate film production, event design, brand management and more. Recently appointed as content curator and brand strategist at Southern Utah University Marketing Communications Office, Thorpe is also a member of the board of directors of Arts to Zion, president of Emceesquare Media Inc. (a PR and media production company), and she is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America. Before launching Emceesquare, Thorpe’s resume included stints as associate features editor and contributor at Etched Magazine, media operations and publicity manager at DOCUTAH International Film Festival, and Utah Valley University’s director of publications and creative services.
Georgefest Board Vice President George Scott is best known as the founder of The Desert Pulse, one of southern Utah’s most popular online entertainment destinations. A Washington County native, music fanatic, people watcher, experience creator, and a former contributor to The Independent, Scott has been chronicling the best in food, live entertainment and the arts since launching the Desert Pulse in November of 2015. Previously Scott served as special events manager and sponsor relations coordinator for the City of Washington. He brings to his board position solid connections with the Greater St. George community, which have enabled him to create a consistent sponsor base for Georgefest. He is also charged with identifying and booking all bands and other performers for Georgefest.
Marianne Hamilton assumes the role of Georgefest board secretary after a year as the event’s Media and PR Manager. A career journalist and marketing writer, Hamilton is a regular contributor to St. George Health & Wellness magazine and a number of other publications. Additionally, she is a member of the St. George Arts Commission and the Art Around the Corner board of directors, and co-administrator of the St. George Wine Club. An active “senior athlete,” Hamilton is also a fitness instructor at Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, and a race director for the Huntsman World Senior Games.
In his new post as board treasurer, Stephen Lambert will manage all Georgefest finances. Currently the director of human resources at Red Mountain Spa, where he oversees an employee base of 250, Lambert is a seasoned motivational speaker and trainer. He is also the founder and CEO of 5STARconcepts, which provides customized training and coaching services to the hospitality industry. To pursue his passion in assisting others with their personal and professional growth, Lambert also founded the dare2BECOME series of webinars, retreats and coaching programs. Since Georgefest was first introduced Lambert has been a familiar presence on Main Street, managing all vendor relations and ensuring seamless operations.
New Board Member-at-Large John Kessler is one of Historic Downtown St. George’s most active advocates. A member of the management team at Best Western Coral Hills, Kessler serves as chair of the St. George Arts Commission and as president of the St. George Lodging and Tourism Association. Kessler is also a member of the St. George Chamber of Commerce “Sunshiners” booster club, and of the Downtown Merchant Group’s advisory board, and has been director of the Olde World Historical Society – which presents the St. George Dickens Festival and St. George “Days of Camelot” – for the past 14 years. A longtime stage actor, director and teacher, Kessler can often be seen in roles at Brigham’s Playhouse and other venues.
With its new nonprofit status, a new board in place, and a new venue for The Desert Pulse Jazz Garden at Green Gate Village, Thorpe and her team are excited about the future of Georgefest. “Just as the event has changed and grown since we launched two years ago, so has the group working behind the scenes,” Thorpe noted. “We are grateful that the community continues to embrace and support Georgefest in such a positive way, and we look forward to continuing to present world-class entertainment that everyone can get excited about.”
Georgefest, a nightlife event designed to celebrate the best of southern Utah, is held on the first Friday of every month from 6-10 p.m., with the Desert Pulse Jazz Garden at Green Gate Village open until midnight April–October. The event is sponsored by the City of St. George, St. George Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Canyon Media, St. George News, Etched Magazine, The Independent, The Desert Pulse, Iron Gate Winery and Wasatch Brewery.
For more information, or to become a vendor, visit georgestreetfest.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Georgefest organizers are now accepting applications for street market vendors, buskers, and food vendors.