Idaho man falls victim to 'eclipse over-hype,' loses $20,000 on weekend event for small crowd

Posted at 8:41 PM, Aug 22, 2017

The Great American Eclipse has come and gone, but one Idaho man is still paying the price.

Falling victim to "eclipse over-hype", Jeff Webb said he spent more than $20,000 to put on a weekend music festival in Cascade, compete with campsites, live music and food for thousands.

"It got hyped up and it hurt, so I lost over $20,000 this weekend," Webb said.

The money was spent on what Webb hoped would be an epic eclipse event starting Saturday, two days before totality.

"When it got to the day, I was looking for the people, and I thought, 'What's going on?' I didn't see the traffic," he said. "I don't blame people for not going up if they thought they were going to be in traffic bumper-to-bumper for nine to 11 hours, which is what I was hearing."

The expected overflow of tens of thousands of visitors never showed. Instead, Webb and his crew saw a few dozen visitors stop by over the course of the weekend. Webb says some local businesses in town even told him they were seeing even fewer people than average.

"One even said 50 percent less business than a regular weekend," he said.

While there's no denying the town saw a nice uptick in out-of-state visitors making their way into the path of totality, almost all drove right past Webb's outdoor venue, finding somewhere else to soak in the solar views.

Webb shelled out money on all kinds of amenities: reserving the space, security, top quality sound and stage, eight live bands, and even nearly $7,000 on porta-potties alone. They also arranged a shuttle bus, expecting the need for back-and-forth transportation for extra parking.

One of the most disappointing aspects for Webb, was the intention that profits from the weekend event would help fund renovations for his current business venture in Nampa. Webb currently operates a massage therapy facility, but recently acquired the other half of his building. He plans to remodel the facility into a full-service salon and spa.

But even though he'll be paying for the decision for months to come, he's not looking back.

"I don't regret taking the chance, it was a calculated risk, and I'd do it again," Webb said.