Bragg Jam requires extra cleanup in downtown Macon

Broken bottles and other trash overflowed cans and trailed along Cherry Street in the wake of Saturday’s Bragg Jam music festival in downtown Macon. The residual mess is now gone, but the spillover is prompting a new look at procedures in light of the event’s apparent growth.

“Really I think what we’re dealing with is a big success problem,” said Mechel McKinley, the city’s Main Street Macon program manager.

Existing facilities have been enough for previous years, but Bragg Jam’s reputation for drawing great bands to downtown venues is bringing in people from around Middle Georgia, not just Macon itself, said McKinley, who’s a former board member of Bragg Jam.

Jessica Walden, the festival’s spokeswoman, said final attendance figures aren’t in yet but a glance at some of Saturday night’s bigger draws showed that the crowd was up.

“That definitely could have been a contributing factor to the excess trash,” she said. “Judging by Sunday morning, it was clear it was beyond the scope of our grassroots volunteers.”

Debris was left on Second Street as well, she said.

“Cherry Street and Second were our biggest crowd hubs,” Walden said.

People seemed pleased with the event itself, and this is the first time there’s been such a mess the next day, she said.

City spokesman Chris Floore said that previously, existing trash cans have been enough. More cans may be needed next year, but this time Bragg Jam notified the city of the spillover, and Public Works crews did major cleanup Sunday night and final touch-ups Monday morning, he said.

Floore indicated that something regarding cleanup duties might have been left off the city permit that Bragg Jam organizers filled out, due to the form’s complexity. McKinley said it’s a nine-page application, but the first four are guidelines for use of city streets and other public spaces, police protection and other basics.

She wasn’t sure anything was overlooked by Bragg Jam, but nonetheless will work on simplifying the special event permit form to make it easier to understand, she said.

Bragg Jam has agreed to pay the extra cleanup cost, Floore said.

Walden said the final amount’s still unknown, but confirmed that the festival will cover the city’s cost and make sure there’s not a similar problem next year. Bragg Jam is grateful for city support and will do whatever is necessary to stay in Macon’s good graces, she said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.