Lewisporte slashes festival budget
Mussel Bed Soiree headed in a new direction
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.
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.