One Spark festival gets new home

Two-day event will be at EverBank Field in October

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The scaled-down version of Jacksonville's One Spark event will have a new home in 2017 thanks to a partnership with Bold Events, the entertainment arm of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The two-day event that showcases creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and social and cultural projects will take place Oct. 6-7 at EverBank Field.

For years, One Spark has been scaling down from its original week-long event. Board Chairman Peter Rummell said costs for things like security and Wi-Fi on the streets of downtown Jacksonville put them over budget.

"We were trying to fix it, doing sort of the same version of the same thing over and over, and you just can't do it. There was a fundamental cost structure that was impossible to deal with," Rummell said. "It's $10,000 here and $10,000 there, and all of a sudden you've spent a couple hundred thousand dollars."

He said that's why One Spark's new partnership with Bold Events was a smart move.

The partnership will turn EverBank Field's West U.S. Assure Club and the newly opened Daily's Place into “Innovate Stadium” for the festival, which will host up to 150 creators, who will be organized into zones: EdSpark, TechSpark, HealthSpark, SocialSpark and a section for other ideas that don't fall under those categories.

"They're enlisting our expertise in sales, marketing, event production and resources," said Chad Johnson, senior vice president of sales and service for Bold Events. "We have everything they need right here."

Spark Tank, sponsored by One Spark Ventures, returns and will feature several rounds with $5,000 prizes, and then the championship competition will award a $20,000 prize. Each zone will have creators selected by a panel of judges to participate in a Spark Tank round for a chance at a $5,000 award. The Spark Tank championship will be in the stadium suite of Jaguars owner Shad Khan on Oct. 7.

Creator application periods will open on July 10 and will run through Sept. 8. To participate, go to onespark.com. There is no cost to apply, but selected creators will be required to pay $125 to participate at EverBank Field.

Innovation Festival attendees will be required to register and purchase a ticket this year: $5 in advance and $10 on the day of the event. Registration will be available in the coming weeks at onespark.com. The cover charge funds will go back into the program, officials said.

The event kicks off the night of Oct. 5 with a concert, which will require the purchase of another ticket. The act for the concert has not been announced yet.

The festival will coincide with an away game for the Jaguars, making the stadium available.

One Spark After Dark will overlap the daytime creator festival, beginning at 6 p.m. and going through midnight with multiple live music performances.

One Spark board members said the changes to the festival will put more focus on the creators and not just the party, something that B&G Educational Innovations CEO Elizabeth Benson said will get more projects off the ground.

"They challenge you with the right questions to make you really consider what will it take, and do I have what it's going to take," Benson said.

Benson won the Spark Tank competition last year and has since created educational tools for future doctors and nurses. She even moved her business to Jacksonville from Maryland.

"Without their mentoring, we would not have made the business," she said. "We wouldn't have done this."