Lewis­porte slashes fes­ti­val bud­get

Mus­sel Bed Soiree headed in a new di­rec­tion

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY KYLE GREENHAM [email protected]­cen­tralvoice.ca

After in­cur­ring a $95,000 loss from the 2018 fes­ti­val, the Town of Lewis­porte and fes­ti­val com­mit­tee hope to take the Mus­sel Bed Soiree in a new di­rec­tion in 2019.

Since 2016, the Mus­sel Bed Soiree has run a to­tal deficit of $225,000. Now, the fes­ti­val’s bud­get has been slashed from $340,000 in 2018 to $122,000 in 2019.

While still in the ini­tial stages, Deputy Mayor and chair of the Mus­sel Bed Soiree Com­mit­tee, Krista Freake, says the fes­ti­val will be re­tir­ing the con­cert in the park to fo­cus more on hav­ing var­i­ous events that ap­peal to fam­i­lies, teenagers, and older adults, re­spec­tively – in­clud­ing a tra­di­tional New­found­land kitchen party.

“When we looked at it as both a coun­cil and com­mit­tee, we re­flected that a lot of our fo­cus has been on the con­cert in the park and that has not been fi­nan­cially ben­e­fi­cial to us,” said Freake. “We’re look­ing at a new frame­work for the Mus­sel Bed Soiree and for a lot of us, it’s ex­cit­ing to build up from the ground again.

“We want to en­sure we don’t in­cur a deficit and still en­cour­age peo­ple to at­tend.”

Freake says the bud­get for en­ter­tain­ment was re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly for next sum­mer’s soiree, but suc­cess­ful events like the com­edy night, sta­dium dance, gospel con­cert and story-time trail will con­tinue.

“We will en­sure all those things con­tinue and per­haps made a lit­tle bet­ter,” Freake said. “We can fi­nan­cially con­trib­ute to those in a dif­fer­ent way now that we are not con­tribut­ing to the con­cert in the park.

“We have a $30,000-bud­get for en­ter­tain­ment and a $30,000-bud­get for sound and the things that go along with that. That bud­get has de­creased dras­ti­cally; last year it was more than dou­ble that.”

In 2018, the bud­get for the soiree was cut to $340,000 be­cause of a com­bined deficit of $130,000 in 2016 and 2017. In other years the fes­ti­val bud­get had reached up­wards of $650,000.

Ac­cord­ing to Freake, the 2018 deficit largely came from a lack of ticket sales and the cost in­volved in the con­cert event.

Grand Falls-Wind­sor also took a sig­nif­i­cant loss through their 2018 Salmon Fes­ti­val, to­talling $79,000. Freake noted the com­mit­tee had stud­ied the losses of this fes­ti­val and oth­ers in the lead-up to de­cid­ing on the 2019 bud­get.

“Out in Avon­dale and Grand Falls-Wind­sor we’re see­ing now a lot of fes­ti­vals can­not sup­port big con­certs,” she said. “That’s why we’re scal­ing back and look­ing at our fes­ti­val in a new way.”

Freake en­cour­ages new vol­un­teers to come to the ta­ble as the Mus­sel Bed Soiree Com­mit­tee moves for­ward into the new year, to en­sure the fes­ti­val can be suc­cess­ful and in­clude the events peo­ple want to be part of.

FILE PHOTO

The Fables per­form­ing at the Mus­sel Bed Soiree in 2017 at the con­cert in the park. After in­cur­ring losses for sev­eral years, Lewis­porte Deputy Mayor Krista Freake says the Soiree is re­tir­ing the con­cert event for the 2019 fes­ti­val.

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