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Today's Question: Was it worthwhile to pay admission for the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | 2:49 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Planning leaders for the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival are calling this year's a success and are optimistic about its future development. At Monday's City Council meeting, Thumper Entertainment, the company that produces the festival, gave the city of Columbia a check for approximately $14,000.

That money came from sales of tickets, which were not free for the first time in the event's three-year history. Richard King, who owns The Blue Note and is involved with Thumper Entertainment, said turnout fulfilled his expectations.

More than 11,500 tickets were bought for the three-day weekend event. But King said he estimated the total crowd for the weekend at 50,000 people.

Despite the new charge for admission at two of the three music stages, these estimates suggest most people chose to experience the aspects of the festival that were free of charge.

Economic impact is a positive aspect of attracting large crowds. The Convention and Visitor's Bureau mentioned that additional room nights are purchased at area hotels during the festival. However, the crowds last year were estimated at between 120,000 and 130,000 people, far greater than what King estimated for this year's event.

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau made a $15,000 donation for the festival's barbecue contest this year.

“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.”

When people visit Columbia, they spend money at other area businesses while they are here. The city sees financial benefits from the increased sales tax revenue.

Is the $14,000 the city made worth the smaller crowds that may have resulted from admission fees? Or could the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival have a greater economic impact for the city if tickets were free again?


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Comments

Panama Red November 3, 2009 | 7:24 p.m.

Ticket fees where miniscule in my opinion. I bought my wife's and I tickets and we spent money down there and in downtown.

Would the freeloaders have spent any money if they didn't have to?

(Report Comment)
Adam Barratt November 3, 2009 | 9:36 p.m.

Some things to think about:
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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.
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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.
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According to http://www.macvb.net/pdf/2006_Hotel_Tax_... 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.
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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.
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Unfortunately, people are also simply spending less on entertainment due to unemployment, etc -- so this I am sure impacted ticket sales this year.
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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.

(Report Comment)

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