After 28 years, it’s over for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival.
Founder Stephen Millard cited economic conditions and security concerns as a few reasons why the festival is ending.
“We have always been dependent on support from the local community, national sponsors and in-kind media, and I have become unable to move forward at this time without taking on unjustifiable personal financial and liability risks,” says Millard, the president of Main Events International. “Under these circumstances, the festival has simply — and sadly — become unsustainable.”
Along with the end of the festival, Millard announced his retirement from a 45-year career in the hospitality and special-event productions industries.
The Deep Ellum Arts Festival started in 1994 as a free-to-attend event featuring performing and visual artists. Each year, the festival offered more than 100 “original only” bands, singer/songwriters and performance artists, who all performed on five outdoor concert stages. And more than 200 juried visual artists displayed and sold their pieces, while over 30 restaurants provided food and drinks.
In its 28-year run, the festival welcomed over 2,500 performers and 5,000 fine artists, as well as over 2 million attendees. The last time the event was put on was in April.