City Stages going out of business

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - City Stages, the long-time music festival in downtown Birmingham, announced Thursday its intention to go out of business, according to staff at McMillan Associates.

FOX6 News confirmed the news Thursday.

According to a report confirmed by the staff at McMillan Associates, the Birmingham Cultural and Heritage Foundation, the non-profit foundation that runs and produces the festival, said it is now, "irretrievably insolvent."

"City Stages has come to an end," the statement said.

George McMillan, president of McMillan Associates, helped create the music festival in 1989. FOX6 News attempted to contact him for comment.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford said the decision to close City Stages was a "sign of the times."

"It is a sad day for the city," Langford said. "I have the upmost respect for George McMillan. It's hard to make a music festival work for one year, much less 21 years."

City Stages began suffering financial problems in recent years. Thursday's statement to FOX6 News blamed the recent economic downturn, weather challenges, low attendance, and low ticket sales for declining revenue and massive debts.

The statement said the foundation does not have enough money to pay off its current debt.

"The drastic reduction in revenue from this year's event has made it impossible for the Foundation to satisy its debts," the statement said.