2016 Financial Recap

11 Comments

2016 Financial Recap

I'm amazed at what Audiofeed has become, because I look at it and know we could never do it on our own.  Yet it happens.  The biggest success... really the only one that matters.  We came together again - from wildly different walks of life, with differing views on everything from politics to theology - and all of that disappeared in a natural love that reflects the Body of Christ better than anything I've ever seen before.  It's the Spirit of God, and all of you allowing Him to be free and create something special.

As the fest nears its end every year I start getting questions:  "how'd you do this year?... it looks like there are more people here, is attendance up?..."  All really asking the same thing: "I've found this place that is a home to me - are we on solid ground for the future?

The answer is always yes.  It's an over-used phrase, but accurate.  Christ is the rock that we stand on and He will not let us down.  We're safe.  He will care for us and use our willingness to be in community to surround us with opportunity to gather no matter what the circumstances are. 

So... how did we do?  Paid attendance was up nearly 60% over 2015, nearly triple our initial year in 2013.   In dollars, revenue increased by $30,000 over 2015.  We anticipated that type of growth would get us to the point of meeting expenses with festival revenue.  But we spent at lot to get there.  Expenses increased by approximately $30,000.  In the end, a bottom line about the same as 2015, requiring an investment by our core group of $35,000 to cover expenses.

Through four years, the cumulative investment of our core group has been over $100,000.  The investment is in the community, the music, the culture that celebrates creativity in Christ.  It will never return financial rewards to us.  We are an official non-profit, and can't ever benefit financially from the festival, nor do we desire to.  We've also been happy , even grateful, for the opportunity to invest in something like this.  We feel like it has grown to the point where we have opportunities to broaden the sources of the investment to keep it going strong.  As life has evolved for our primary funding sources, that's become a necessity.  Contact us via social media or through the website if you have ideas or contacts for sponsorship or fundraising.  We can do so much more together... In light of the successes God has brought about in this over the past several years, we have no concerns that He will provide to make this what He wants it to be.

Our growth has also created challenges in terms of volunteer management and logistics.  There are a handful of us that loved Cornerstone and would love to enjoy Audiofeed in the same way.  But we've given that up for the past four years to work non-stop through the festival (and before and after it).  That's not a complaint, because the reward God had given has been so great - that's the topic for another post entirely.  But we need to expand that management group by a few more people who are also willing to sacrifice what the festival is to them now to serve fully and be a part of a bigger reward.  Pray with us that God will bring the right people to us to manage the festival well, and get in touch if you are willing and able.

This is a celebration.  We have challenges to overcome.  But compared to where we started - with some of our first contacts in 2013 telling us that we would end up with a dozen people in a cornfield - we've come a long way.  We fully expect that God will continue to bless this gathering and keep us together, and we will add what little strength we have to His to accomplish that. 

Thank you for being what Audiofeed is.

11 Comments

Advent... Hope and Longing

Comment

Advent... Hope and Longing

Advent (from the Oxford Dictionary): The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays. Christian theology: the coming or second coming of Christ.

For me, the advent candle is a perfect symbol for the season.  Light in the darkness, quiet, hopeful... the flame is small and fragile.  Yet beautiful, inspiring, and a source of light in spite of its apparent weakness.  We can choose to quench that light, or we can choose to draw strength and hope from it.

I choose hope.  I choose joy.  I've struggled with the whole joy thing over the course of my life.  A family background and wiring toward depression, and an awareness of the brokenness of the world have been my constant companions for most of my life.  Though I am now free from depression, the haunting awareness of pain and suffering has not left me.  But that has only brought me to an intense, poignant love for this season.  A season where I remember my only hope - both my only hope personally, and our only hope for redemption of this beautiful, broken world.

A hope fulfilled in Christ.  A time to remember and re-experience the mystery, wonder, and blessing of His coming.  God among us.  Advent - a time of expectant waiting and longing.  I can't get away from the wonder, mystery, and immense love represented by the Advent season... nor do I want to.

Yet we are still in a time of longing and waiting.  Marc Byrd of Common Children and Hammock was at Audiofeed last year.  He wrote "The In Between Time", a song that I've always loved.  It expresses the tension between fulfilled and unfulfilled hope that we live in every day.  We are free, and can live lives of hope, love, and grace.  Yet we carry His cross - God has given us the incredible gift of sharing in His love for humanity.  A beautiful and powerful gift indeed.  A gift that requires that we share in His pain while we share His love.  Leaving us sometimes with only this cry:  "Lord Jesus, come soon!"

Until He does come, we must gather.  We must be One Body.  We must love.  We are committed to continuing Audiofeed for that reason.  Despite being a music festival, the music is secondary to the family gathering.  But we're only together for a few days each year.  Throughout the year, especially now, we must come together in love. - they will know us by our love.  We need each other - now more than ever.

Advent.  a time of expectant, longing waiting.  Celebrate it well.       

Comment

Imagine One Perfect Circle

Comment

Imagine One Perfect Circle

I didn't really start listening to The Choir until they released Circle Slide.  But through my high school days I was pretty much a hair metal guy.  Then in college my horizons began to expand, and Circle Slide was a big part of that.  Since then, I've bought all The Choir's releases.  Many of their songs hold deep meaning for me, meeting me right where I am - in the face of joy, fear, doubt, love, and redemption.  I could write a book about what each of the Circle Slide songs means to me.... So, when we began planning the first Audiofeed The Choir was high on my list of bands I hoped we could get to come "someday".  With our short timeline and fledgling status, we were having trouble gaining any traction with booking or ticket sales.  Honestly, there were a lot of skeptics (sometimes I was one myself).  But in the face of that uncertainty The Choir jumped on board.  And not just on board for a set by The Choir.  Their band members went above and beyond, participating in many ways - Steve Hindalong offered a songwriting seminar and, I think played for at least three other artists.  Confirming what I guessed before I met them.  These guys are part of our family.

Dan Michaels of The Choir recently took time to chat with me about Audiofeed, Cornerstone, and their new campaign to re-release Circle Slide on vinyl. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Choir opened the first Cornerstone and closed the last Cornerstone.  I'm generally not very open with my emotions (it's one of my many problems), but I was wiping away tears through that entire final set in 2012.  How was The Choir (and perhaps you personally) impacted by Cornerstone?

 I can’t see how any artist or band who have performed at Cornerstone more than a few times could not be significantly impacted. Community and connection resulted through the spirit of this festival and the kind artists that appeared there. Between JPUSA and artists. Between artists and fans. Thrilled and taken back is how I remember the first several years of the festival as I discovered so many new people with a passion for the kind of music we played. Supported is how I felt for many years after from JPUSA as well as the artist and fan community. Sad, disappointed and proud is how I felt at the last Cornerstone. Sad to see the annual community and connection to come to a close. Disappointed (but understandable) that a good chunk of folks seemed to have aged out over the years and couldn’t make the trek to a cornfield for a week. Proud of all Cornerstone accomplished, the individuals who were touched and changed forever, the platform it provided to propel artists to a national level.

Audiofeed grew from the seeds Cornerstone planted. I hope it is much broader than that. Have you seen the seeds multiplying in other venues, festivals, and gatherings, or do you feel that the spirit of Cornerstone is at risk?

Cornerstone was unique. Its spirit was so different due to JPUSA’s approach on everything and the type of music, art and speakers involved.

 How and where have you seen pockets of support for artists grow and flourish? From your perspective, what should we (we meaning fans generally and perhaps Audiofeed specifically) do differently to support artists? What are we doing well? How can we all duplicate what you have seen work well?

 Our (the collective “our”) genre doesn’t have a vast reach by commercial standards, but damn the folks into it are loyal, passionate and care. A lot of the artists at Audiofeed are independent. The Choir and their peers are indie of course. What that mostly means is there’s not a marketing team behind these bands or a promotions budget to help further the platform. We always are grateful for word of mouth. We depend on it. What would I ask for help fans? Bring a friend or two with you at our shows. Share our music on your Facebook, Twitter etc. We’d love to have a shot of earning new listeners. Jim, it’s hard for me to speak into how Audiofeed can do differently to better support artists as I’m not on the inside to everything that is done. Captain Obvious here, but the best support for artists in a concert or festival setting…bring the people! Butts in the seat…meat in the stands – haha. If folks show up, we’ll do our very best to earn their favor.

 There are few Christian bands (or bands of any genre for that matter) that have weathered the test of time like The Choir.  I listened to your music in high school, and I eagerly await your new releases 25 years later.  If you could go back in time and talk to 19 year old (Dan or Derri or Steve or Tim), what would you want to tell him?

 It’s going to be okay. Just breathe. It’s going to be okay.

Yeah, at 45 years old I now understand that advice really well myself...  When booking our first Audiofeed, many artists told us they could not take a risk on us; "it's going to be a dozen people standing in a cornfield"... that was one of the things we heard.  But The Choir jumped on board and was a big part of giving us credibility.  (Thanks)  And Steve put on a songwriting seminar and played with probably another 5 artists - for no extra compensation.  This might be for my own curiosity as much as anything else... why did you believe enough in us to give us a chance?

Trust. We generally see the good in people and we err on the side of loyalty and trust. The effort and time that it takes to coordinate, promote and finance an event of this size is massive. Audiofeed was presented to us with a sense of heart for the artists and a desire to connect with a community. Hard work and a persevering spirit are often rewarded – at least to the extent that we would expect to see more than a dozen folks standing in a cornfield...

What would you like to tell us about your current kickstarter campaign and plans for the future?

We were thrilled with the enthusiastic reception to our Circle Slide 25 Year Anniversary tour and the release of the re-mastered Circle Slide double CD this past year. We played nearly 40 shows on the CS tour to larger crowds than we’ve seen since the early 90s. Folks were coming out of the woodwork and many said they hadn’t seen us perform since the early 90s. Even before, but especially during all of this we’ve received a good number of suggestions to put Circle Slide on vinyl for the first time. Another often requested item is to put out a new live album on DVD.  With the help of our Choir friends and listeners, we’d like to do both. But, as I mentioned earlier, we’re not supported by a record label with production and marketing budgets so we are asking for partnership in this effort. While we’ve met our goal of $12,500, it actually costs a good bit more than that to even make the minimum 500 LPs and DVDs. Lots of folks need to be paid outside of our circle to even get to the point of manufacturing. We’ll take care of getting there, and hoping the Circle Slide experience earns the favor of fans to support the printing and manufacturing side.

Imagine One Perfect Circle / The Choir / Circle Slide on Vinyl

www.tinyurl.com/circleslidevinyl

 

Comment

Too Creative?

3 Comments

Too Creative?

I first heard the spoken Word piece I Was Recently Told I Am Too Creative by Propaganda at Audiofeed 2014, and it's stuck with me ever since.  One of the struggles we have with Audiofeed is how to describe it.  If you have 15 minutes, I can describe it pretty well.  But it's really hard to have a quick explanation for the guy in the check-out line who asks about my corncob microphone tattoo - when I have 30 seconds.  We find that almost every identifier/label/explanation emphasizes one aspect of what we are over another, or excludes some of our family.  This poem has given Luke, Jay, and I - and all of our core group of volunteers - a center for a quick explanation that finally rings true. 

"...Like Christ wasn’t afraid to mix spit with mud as if he couldn’t fix vision with one word

I’m sorry, I get my creativity from my Father..."

That's what we want for Audiofeed, and for our community.  We want to reflect Christ.  We want people to see the way all of you gather, love each other, share freely, help with any needs, look out for those who are weak... and we want them to be confused.  Confused and drawn in by the beauty , grace, and love that they see.  Just like they were when they saw Christ.  His way was too creative.  We want to reflect that.  If we do, people will be confused by it.  Some might be turned off, but many will be confused but attracted... wanting to know why this gathering looks so different than everything else they know.  It's Christ, not us.  His creativity and love. 

So that's become our quick explanation (not a formal mission statement, just my paraphrase that we all express in our own way):   Audiofeed is a music festival that reflects the creativity of our God who breathed this amazing universe into existence.  We hope we are too creative.

Here's Propaganda performing the complete version of the poem... check it out - well worth your time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW7Chs7K0Ac&feature=youtu.be

"...I was recently told I was too creative and that shook me to the core
'Cause I have no excuse for fear
I should be roller skating around Saturn, looking down at satellites
Flying

And if you mustered up the bravery you would get this one day

See, I fooled you

This isn't a poem

This right here is a runway
Why aren't you flying?

Why aren't you flying?"

 

3 Comments

Comment

Family

It's an over-used word.  I think it's often used to connote all the warm fuzzy feelings associated with it, and not with the honesty that recognizes that family is often difficult and messy, that it requires hard work and commitment through the dry seasons.  Without that, it's a pretty shallow term.  With that, it is deep and beautiful.

Comment

Comment

That Your Joy May Be Full

Audiofeed, and Cornerstone before it, reflect the Body of Christ for me more clearly than any other group I’ve ever been around.  We’re called to be part of one Body - to do things together that we could never begin to do on our own.

Comment

Comment

Transparency

We've promised transparency with our finances, and we truly see this festival as belonging to all of us. So you're entitled to know. Ready for a long post?

Comment