MOUNT VERNON — For the past 31 years, the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival has been an annual event in Mount Vernon. For the last 21 years, Pat and Sandy Crow have been the volunteer directors for the festival, which is a production of the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival Inc.
As of April 26, the Crows are “done as operational managers” of the festival. On that date, Pat Crow sent an e-mail to “Friends of the festival, major sponsors and festival board members.”
In it, after citing the success and growth of the festival, he explains that his employer, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is not a sponsor or facilitator of the event, “only a partner,” and events have transpired which he describes as creating a “hostile” work environment. He cites as an example an unidentified board member as saying the CVB should not be supplying anything to the various festivals. Since over the years he has promoted what he calls “successful interorganizational partnerships,” he doesn’t feel the current CVB board leadership will tolerate his working on the event as in the past.”
Crow wrote that he is willing to discuss the situation if needed, “but I am not hopeful that anything will change in regard to these issues in time.”
By “in time,” he clearly means to save the festival for this year.
Asked Friday, Crow said nothing has changed since he wrote the letter.
Mayor Richard Mavis, who was one of the letter recipients, said as far as he knows no one has stepped forward to organize anything and the festival board has taken no action.
No contract has been signed for a headline act and no effort has been made to line up local talent.
He warned that if there is no festival this year, it could cause irreparable harm to the festival going forward.
“People have suggested changes are needed in the festival, but that needs to be planned for,” he said. “Before I became mayor, our sporting goods store sponsored a successful annual race. It wasn’t held one year on the advice of an insurance agent and the event never recovered.”