Blues festival nets more than $14,000 for Columbia

Monday, November 2, 2009 | 1:51 p.m. CST; updated 5:36 p.m. CST, Monday, November 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — Thumper Entertainment will present the Columbia City Council with a check for more than $14,000 on Monday night, representing part of the proceeds from this year’s Roots ’N Blues ’N BBQ Festival ticket sales.

The third annual festival was held Sept. 25 to 26, following much deliberation between the city and Thumper Entertainment.

A festival agreement called for Thumper to give the city $1 for each single-day pass and $1.65 for every weekend pass sold. According to statistics provided by Thumper to the city, the number of paid entries into the festival totaled 11,523. Altogether, ticket sales netted $14,144.90 for the city.

The city was also reimbursed by Thumper for security and cleanup costs about a week after the festival ended, said Richard King, owner of The Blue Note and a partner in Thumper.

There were 2,243 complimentary tickets given out, which brought the total number of tickets for the event to 13,766. The total gross amount for ticket sales was $168,170. A single-day pass bought at the door made up the greatest number of tickets at 4,460, followed by weekend passes bought in advance at 3,143.

“So far, all of our projections were met,” King said. “We came away very happy with the results.”

King roughly estimated that, throughout the course of the weekend, somewhere around 50,000 people participated in the event. One of the three stages provided free entertainment.

King expressed interest in putting on the event next year, given the success of this year's festival. He said Thumper hopes to discuss potential dates for next year’s festival with the council on Monday.

King said that all parts of the festival went well this year, although he admits some tweaking probably will need to be done before next year.

“Our plan is to make it as user-friendly as possible and to continue to bring the best music available,” King said. “We would take all the help we can get when it comes to the weather.”

The Columbia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau made a $15,000 contribution from its Tourism Development Fund to the festival’s barbecue contest.

“The advisory board has always been in favor of this event because it brings positive national press coverage to Columbia,” said Lorah Steiner, executive director of the bureau. “It draws a lot of people into our community.”

Steiner projected that, at a minimum, 1,100 people were staying overnight in Columbia for the festival. She estimated there were roughly 1,500 to 2,000 room nights booked in local hotels during that weekend, and she expects that number to rise every year.

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Adam Barratt November 3, 2009 | 7:06 p.m.

Some things to think about:
The Convention and Visitor's Bureau put up $100,000 last year with no ticket charge and attracted 120k = $0.83 cents/person spent by the city.
This year they put up $15,000 and ticket Sales made up another $168,170 -- add those two numbers together and you get $183170 to attract 50,000 people = $3.66 / person --- although you can assume a chunk of that $183,170 was profit for the organizers.
According to Columbia, MO collects 4% Hotel Taxes. If in 2008 we had between 120,000 - 130,000, that means that ~70,000 more people were in the city -- I would wager that a chunk of them spent the night (or two) in a local hotel. It'd be interesting to see how many hotel rooms were used each year due to the festival.
I'm willing to bet the other money that the 70,000 more people spent last year equaled more than a few $ in local taxes, hotel taxes, and other stimulus for the local economy.
Unfortunately, people are also simply spending less on entertainment due to unemployment, etc -- so this I am sure impacted ticket sales this year.
I personally didn't go this year because I didn't want to pay a $15 cover to drink a few beers (isolated in a corded off area this year -- another change from last year). I did go last year and I spent about $50-60 total with local businesses.

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