Swift Current Ag and Ex looking for a rebound year in 2019
After posting a $57,155 loss this past year, the Swift Current Agriculture and Exhibition Association is looking to improve their bottom line by bolstering attendance numbers for the grandstand entertainment at Frontier Days 2019.
The plan for larger grandstand attendance was one of the focal messages of the Swift Current Ag and Ex annual meeting on February 26, where their entire year operations were reported on. Overall net revenues from events this past year were down only $3,990 from 2017.
A portion of their deficit this past year was attributed to a $23,000 renovation of their office space, but their largest loss was a shortfall of $28,000 for the grandstand entertainment.
“We were down last year. We dug 10 per cent into our assets so that isn’t a good thing. It’s a little bit tough. But I think that had to do with the entertainment. The entertainment wasn’t maybe as strong as we’ve had in the past,” admitted Ag and Ex President Bryce Burnett. “And we’re really looking forward to our entertainment this year with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I think it’ll be a real plus. It’s going to probably pull that 10 per cent, I hope so.”
The lone concert during Frontier Days is set for Friday, June 28, with Swift Current’s own Colter Wall sharing the stage with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Concert tickets are available for $60, with that price also covering gate admission and seating for the CCA rodeo performance at 1 p.m.
Burnett said this strong Friday line-up is anticipated to draw a near capacity crowd.
“The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, I think they’ll do that. And especially when we’ve got opening with Colter Wall. I think we’ve got a real good draw this year. And I think it’ll really help us this year.”
Burnett said they are placing a focus on higher attendance figures and not currently looking at a higher gate admission cost.
“Probably not. It depends I guess in this next year how we do. But the $5 gate admission has really been a good draw for us. And it gets the people in. And we hate to touch that too much because it has been so positive for us and really increased our attendance. And then once you get them into the ground, then you can add a little bit on here and there.”
And, as always, weather is a huge factor in their Frontier Days bottom line.
“We rely a lot on this on just four days. And Mother Nature can sometimes put a little bit of a kink into it. And so we hope for good weather there and that we have a real good turnout. But when you’re just banking on four days for our main revenue it’s a little bit tough.”
Burnett added that the Association boasts a strong team of volunteers and board members to make their activities a success.
“We’ve got a lot of enthusiastic board members that are really passionate about what they’re doing in their various parts in the Swift Current Ag and Ex,” he said.
“It’s going to be a challenge. So I see a lot of challenges ahead. But, once again, we have some real capable people to pull these challenges out.”
Ag and Ex Board Finance Chair Stan Aikens touched on the financial particulars during his report at the meeting.
“Again a challenging year for the Association financially, as we had many areas where we saw increased costs for services and entertainment, etcetera, which affected our ability to just break even on putting on these events,” he said.
Overall net revenues were similar to the previous year. Activities and events earned the Association $688,455 in revenue, a slight increase from $667,793 in 2017. When expenses for these main areas are removed, their activities and events generated a profit of $145,896, which was within $3,990 of their overall events profit of $149,886 during 2017.
“We continue to be financially strong and will endeavour again to provide quality events and educational activities for Swift Current and the surrounding areas,” Aikens said in his report.
“We would be challenged to maintain our current level of events and entertainment without the support and the ongoing cooperation of the City of Swift Current.”
“The areas that we’re looking to increase profitability are from our admissions, as we anticipate the entertainment packages that we’ve put together for this coming year are going to draw more people through the gates. Entry fees and registrations, those also we anticipate will be up a little bit. And we anticipate that we’re going to be able to get some extra sponsorship.”