One Spark is going to try again to hold an entrepreneurial festival in Jacksonville that has been postponed so many times it’s been two years since the city has seen the once popular event.
One Spark officials announced in a news release Thursday they are scheduling the One Spark event for April 6 and 7 in Daily’s Place amphitheater adjacent to the EverBank Field stadium.
The organization is now accepting applications for so-called “creators” or participants in the event who display their entrepreneurial concepts for crowd review and competition for awards from judges. The application process runs through March 4 and they can be submitted on the internet at onespark.com.
Thursday’s announcement through a news release broadcast to media outlets is a stark contrast to the last time One Spark took a stab at resurrecting the festival that drew an estimated 600,000 people to downtown over the course of five years of festivals.
In June, after postponing last year’s One Spark that usually was held in April, city leaders and Jaguars officials held an elaborate news conference at EverBank Field to announce the festival would return in October at the stadium.
The location itself was a dramatic shift from the festival’s historic focus on funneling participants and crowds to the center of downtown in a festival footprint that spanned dozens of blocks emanating from Laura Street serving as its focal point.
One Spark Chairman and local businessman Peter Rummell announced in 2016 that he would no longer fund much of the expenses for the event that racked up to more than $6 million between 2012 and 2015. Rummell personally picked up about half that tab.
The June news conference promised an elaborate One Spark that was to be held inside the concourses of the stadium. But the target date of early October was scrapped after Hurricane Irma slammed the First Coast and caused a dramatic drop in creators registering for the event.
The One Spark festival set for April focuses on placing the actual event inside the amphitheater instead of the stadium. The characterization of the event by One Spark organizers has also changed as they have labeled the festival as “The World’s Largest Idea Fest.”
When One Spark was founded in 2012, it was called the “world’s largest crowdfunding festival” which invited the audience to weigh in on the creators and their concepts. The number of creators swelled to about 600 in some years and hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Jacksonville for a raucous event featuring creator booths, food trucks and beer villages that usually was held in early April.
One Spark Ventures President Chris Carter said this year’s event at the amphitheater is taking on a new direction. “We’re excited to host and present this year’s new vision for One Spark at Daily’s Place,” he said in a statement.
“This state-of-the-art facility will provide creators and attendees with a world-class experience and access to convenient parking, free Wi-Fi, more food and beverage options and offers creators’ exhibits protection from outside elements,” Carter said.
Organizers will once again ask for feedback from the audience attending the event who can provide input on the ideas of creators and entrepreneurs displaying their concepts. That element was missing the last time One Spark was held in 2016, which was a scaled-down version of the event for the public festival that lasted only one day, though there were events specifically for creators that went into a second day.
Creators will compete for prizes this year, the news release said, there will be different categories for varying areas of professions ranging from health care to technology to education among others.
It’s free for potential creators to register. But One Spark organizers hope to limit the number of creators participating to 150, and if an applicant is selected to take part in the festival, he has to pay $125 to showcase his concept.
Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098.