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Controversy Surrounds Cancellation Of Michael Moore’s ‘Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival’

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The Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival will not be returning in 2012. Co-founder Michael Moore says the festival, which started in 2010, will not take place in 2012 and may not return in 2013.

Why? Moore says it’s because of “drunks” from a beer festival that takes place the same weekend. He says they interrupt shows and the comedy festival isn’t “going to compete with people drinking a lot of beer”.

Others have a different take on the reasons for the cancellation.

Beth Milligan has volunteered for the Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival and has both worked and volunteered for the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival. She gives a unique perspective and provides a detailed account on why the event is being cancelled here.

She talks about last year’s festivals:

The Comedy Fest, which had changed weekends and was now on the same weekend as the Microbrew Fest, was unhappy about the Microbrew Fest taking place on the same dates and in the same approximate vicinity (downtown TC). The crux of Comedy Fest’s concern wasn’t about potential loss of turnout or competition for dollars; it was that “drunken” attendees from Microbrew Fest would crash or disrupt Comedy Fest events. Comments were made to the press implying that this was the modus operandi of Microbrew Fest: getting people drunk and then setting them loose on the community to potentially cause problems.

As someone who worked closely with the Microbrew Fest and with Porterhouse Productions, these implications deeply troubled me.

Both festivals want their event the same weekend in 2012.  The beer festival is unwilling to move and the comedy festival does not want to be on the same weekend as the beer festival.

Michael Moore released a letter this morning, he said:

The result of doing the events on the same weekend in our second year was that a number of shows were interrupted by drunks who had been to the beer fest and decided to visit the Comedy Fest for some yucks. Unfortunately, no one told them that the audience was there to see the famous comedians we brought in, and not them in their happily inebriated state. We didn’t have to deal with this in our first year, when we were a stand-alone event. In our second year, anticipating problems, we had paid security, but we didn’t have enough to deal with the disruptions — and we will not ask our volunteers to act as bouncers.

We chose not to deal with this again in 2012, and asked the beer fest to please not cram their fest onto the same weekend.

Moore also says they told the beer festival that if they didn’t move their event from the same weekend as the comedy festival, they would cancel the comedy festival.

Sounds like a threat to me.  Basically…move you festival or we will cancel ours and everyone will know it’s your fault and blame you.

The beer festival decided to keep their festival on the same weekend and the comedy festival has cancelled.

I guess Traverse City just isn’t big enough for the two of them anymore.

Here’s a short statement from Porterhouse Productions, the company that puts on the beer festival.

And more from mlive.com.

 

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