Residents raise concerns about upcoming Crawfest at Betty Virginia Park

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The tents and barriers are going up as organizers prepare for the fifth annual Crawfest at Betty Virginia Park this weekend (March 17-19), but some citizens have complaints.

The three-day event includes live music, food, art and fun; but some neighbors are not too happy about the event. Parking, noise complaints and the admission fee into the festival are causing lots of controversy, especially for those who use the park regularly, who will not have access to their normal jogging paths. People in the South Highlands neighborhood have a lot of questions.

“I think it’s so important to have the people that live in your community be proud of your community and come down and enjoy parts of your community together,” Crawfest organizer Matt Snyder said. “Also, the second side of that is, when people visit from out of town, you want them to come in and see a part of the city that’s special.”

[RELATED: Shreveport mayor addresses concerns on upcoming Crawfest event]

Organizers are a expecting a full weekend of food, music, art, and fun. But many people in town want to know how this profitable event will be held at a public venue.

“On the flipside, I like to have events going on in town, but yeah, I wish they weren’t charging,” said Angela Mack, a Shreveport resident KSLA spoke with Wednesday.

Many people are concerned about the admissions fee and why they’ll be charged to enter a public venue. They are concerned about where the money will go, as well. Tickets start at $10 each.

“I want to know where the funds are going. Is it because the workers that are working out here are city workers? So does the profits go back to the city workers because that’s been an issue of, you know, their pay increasing and things of that nature, which I understand that,” Mack said.

“Okay, so where’s the money going to go? Is it going back to the city, put on our roads, streets, and drainage which we need? Or is it going into a private, is it private profit? So I have a problem. I want to know.”

KSLA reached out to Shreveport Parks and Recreation for answers, but they refused to comment on Crawfest 2023 due to its controversy. Issues at past Crawfests have also stemmed from neighbors in the South Highlands neighborhood who have complained of people parking in their yards, on the grass and clogging up the streets.

When it comes to security, Shreveport police tell KSLA that the festival will be paying the bill out of pocket, along with the cost of tents, the stage and other outside costs.

Shreveport police officers will be on duty for security.