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. But hey, if I'm going to be transparent I'll be transparent. I'm sharing this with reluctance - only because I don't want to cause concern. Ready for a long post?
The summary and the final bottom line. We're ok. We're beginning to plan 2016, and absent unforeseen surprises, it's going to be similar to 2015 in size and scope, with an effort at ongoing improvement in lots of little things. So mark it on your calendars now... or, don't mark it yet because we're not sure what the dates will be. With the 4th on a Monday, we need to decide what weekend to hit, and if we do it the weekend before the 4th, should we push it back a day or two to be Fri-Sun or Sat-Mon to utilize the holiday on Monday as a day off work for more people to get here? We're not sure yet. But we will nail that down soon.
Anyway... back to numbers. Ticket sales were up 15% - really great news given the weather forecast just two days before the festival calling for thunderstorms all week. I think we are well positioned for the future with that increase in attendance when the forecast was really ugly. Corporate sponsorships were down $2,000; in total revenue was up approx. $5,000 to just over $50,000.
Expenses also increased. The biggest increase was in payment to artists: $36,600 plus $3,000 travel, which is more than $10,000 higher than 2014. We upgraded the tents and sound systems we rented, total cost of $22,000, up $5,000 from 2014. Other costs increased by smaller amounts. The most significant other costs are rent of the grounds at $7,000, portable toilets and trash at $5,500, insurance at $2,000, and misc. supplies, promotion, etc. to bring total expenses to around $82,000.
Yeah... I know what that bottom line looks like. I don't want you to worry. But I do want you to know. We want this to be a thing forever. I don't see any reason it can't be. We're ok, but we're working on getting better. So, how are we ok? I know, that's a lot of money. One of our organizers makes enough money to give what it takes to make this work. There's no pool of wealth to tap there - his family gives away all their excess through the year. But there's enough income there annually to make this ok, and to make 2016 a reality. We don't know what the future will bring, but we plan to do this for a long time. Beyond that general concept we turn this over to God. We never could have done this without Him and as long as He wants this to happen, it will. None of us are big enough to stop that purpose. I rest comfortably in that, and I believe we all should.
We're not going to do a kickstarter or anything like that until it's really necessary for survival - and it may never be necessary. But if you can support our community with donations, it will help us sustain the momentum we have. If you have connections to businesses or organizations who would sponsor a stage or the festival as a whole, connect us. We are an official 501(c)(3) charity if that makes a difference to anyone.
We continue to seek help in several other areas. Locally, we need more setup and tear down help. We need people who can manage and take responsibility for small teams in marketing and promotion, sponsorship/fundraising, security, grounds, backstage support, and other areas. We have volunteers... we need people who can manage groups of those volunteers.
Most of all, we just need you to do what you already do. Spread the word, be passionate about this. If half of you brought one more person with you next year we'd be over the hump financially. Don't just share posts on social media. Make it your goal to personally invite people next year and get at least one more person to come.
Other encouragements... Running this as a safe, secure, and peaceful event is of utmost importance to us. If things could not be kept under control and safe, we could see this shut down faster than finances ever would. We're just not going to do this if it can't be done right. And we're largely dependent on you for that. Thank you. Thank you for having fun, and for doing it is a way that is respectful and responsible to us and to the owners of the grounds. Thank you for complying with our new parking rules... I can't tell you how important that was/is. And to come back on the grounds Sunday after four days of camping and music and have essentially no trash on the grounds, nothing torn up... it's amazing. Thank you. I'm already looking forward to next year.
If you are a giver and you believe in what we are doing, please take time to support the ministry of this festival. Every little bit helps, so even if it's a small amount, or you want to give monthly, we appreciate and really need your support.
If you are interested in being a sponsor for AudioFeed please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (217) 419-1463.