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The fight is on to keep Mid-City’s Bayou Boogaloo Fest…Free.

“The Department of Property Management has claimed stake in the land.  They are looking to charge festival producers roughly $10,000 to use space here on Bayou St. John, ”  Jared Zeller, President of the MotherShip Foundation, said.

Zeller believes it’s outrageous how the City’s trying to charge them so much money when in the past, fees were basically waived.

“The lease has been virtually free, but we had to pay for permits to produce the event.  It doesn’t add up.  We’re asking them to study the fees and we’re asking for something more reasonable,”  Zeller said.

Ben Faulks is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Positive Vibrations Foundation which sponsors Bayou Boogaloo every year.  He agrees with Zeller that the festival needs to remain free to the public.

“What’s really great about this festival is it makes art, music, and culture free to everyone in the community.  It’s not just for the people who can afford a ticket.”

He’s asking to be given a voice in the decision-making process.

“We want to be part of the process.  Where are these fees and mystical mathematics coming from and why aren’t they being shared with us,”  he said.

What is frustrating for event organizers is the fact that Bayou Boogaloo is not only providing good times, but it’s giving back to Bayou St. John.

“The MotherShip Foundation and partners have invested 30-thousand dollars to plant southern live oak trees that were lost in Hurricanes Katrina and Issac.”

Those living in the neighborhood like Virginia Gregory don’t think charging admission would be a good idea.

“This is something people really enjoy and a lot more people can enjoy it when it’s free.  There’s plenty of other events going on at that time that people are saving their money for, ”  she said.

Organizers have set up an online petition to “Save Bayou Boogaloo”.

“We think we can overcome it if we get enough support from the community,”  Zeller said.

Here’s the link to the online petition:

There’s no set date as to when a final decision on this issue will be made.

Bayou Boogaloo Fest is scheduled for May 16th-May 18th.