Local News

Emerald Isle Waves Goodbye to Music Festival

Posted May 14, 1999

— When the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival started 20 years ago, the town was just a speck on the map. Now festival organizers have run out of room to put the thousands of people who flock to the beach blast each year. So this weekend's party will be the last.

The Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival starts Saturday, but by Friday, the campground began to look like a small city. Fans are loyal.

"We've been here the last five years," says Tracey Tilghman. "It's ritual. It's the best. It's the biggest party of the year."

Between 10-12,000 people attended the festival last year. "Simply put, the festival's outgrown Emerald Isle," says production director Alan Watts. "It's a large event now and parking's become, will become a problem for any future event of this size."

When the festival started in 1979 the area was remote with lots of land. Now it is highly developed. The owners say stopping is the easiest thing to do.

Local businesses will hate to see the festival go. Over the years, the event has generated hundreds of thousands in revenue at a time that would normally be quiet.

"They bring people into this area before the summer season starts. And we are really full in the summer but it's a great boost to our economy to be here in May," says Phyllis Ford, of the Chamber of Commerce.

Organizers are expecting a record crowd this weekend if the weather holds out.

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