Broward News

Sylvia Poitier Wants New Mango Festival in October

In a talk radio appearance Sunday afternoon night, Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier said that she and other organizers for the city's Mango Festival were planning to stage a new event in October, after poor planning and financial failings doomed the Mango Festival June 19-20.

Poitier, however, used her time on Hot 105.9 to advance a different version of the festival's collapse. She said that the city canceled the festival when organizers were unable to pay an $8,000 debt. Or rather, she believes that was the excuse the city used toward a more sinister motive.

"They decided they were going to shut it down on a day they saw the festival was going to be successful," said Poitier.

After the jump, let's see if she's telling the truth.

Sure doesn't look like it. The single person most involved with the planning of the Mango Festival, Norris Wiggins, has said that he and his fellow organizers canceled the event after learning that the stage's sound system had been damaged by the previous evening's rain, meaning that the performers couldn't play.

But even if they could have played, we've learned that they probably would not have. One artist, Monica, was advertised to play Saturday but couldn't make it till Sunday. Another major artist scheduled for Saturday, Chrisette Michelle, had canceled, reportedly because she had not been paid on the front end. And according to the festival's original production company there were other artists who had come to South Florida but who were refusing to leave the hotel because they had not been paid the full amount, either.

These are far more credible reasons for the Mango Festival's failure than blaming the city. And it's simply absurd to suggest that the city was "worried the festival was going to be successful," as Poitier claimed. Deerfield Beach had everything to gain and nothing to lose from a successful event.

As for the Mango Festival's unpaid debts, Poitier claimed that Quinton White of NuDawn Entertainment "has stepped to the plate to make the Mango Festival whole."

I'll be trying to reach White later today to see if that's the case. Because from what I've heard so far, it sounds like the organizers of the Mango Festival did not raise nearly enough money from pre-sale tickets, sponsorships and vendors to pay all the costs on the festival's front end. Further, it appears they made a risky bet by hoping they would sell enough tickets at the festival itself to be able to pay the expenses on the back end.

If the Mango Festival organizers really do plan on taking another shot this fall, they'll certainly have to do it without a $25,000 contribution from the city. They will find it awfully hard to find a production company after the last one stormed off with an unpaid bill. Finally, the artists would be foolish to trust that the same organizers who couldn't pay them the first time around would pay them the second time.

More likely, this mythical Mango in October is a stall technique as organizers try to figure out how to pay their debts from the Mango in June.

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Thomas Francis