Arts festival did better than hoped

By Sophie Price

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The Famous Spiegeltent, at the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.
The Famous Spiegeltent, at the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.

The inaugural Hawke's Bay Arts Festival succeeded beyond the expectations of both the organisers and Hastings District Council.

According to corporate and customer services group manager Mike Maguire, the council supported the 2015 festival with $85,000 grant funding from the Hawke's Bay Opera House Reserve, a $50,000 underwrite and in-kind support from other operational budgets.

His report, which is included in this month's council agenda, says Creative Hastings, which ran the festival, was required to profit share with the council amounting to 25 per cent of any surplus after the first $5000, up to a maximum of $35,000.

Mr Maguire says the funding was subject to a clause that any future festivals delivered by the group would use the Hawke's Bay Opera House if and when that venue is available.

"The 2015 Festival was a success and exceeded the expectations of both Creative Hastings and [the] council," Mr Maguire reports.

"The ticket sales were well above the forecast 55 per cent capacity and therefore the council underwrite of $50,000 was not required. A profit of $66,466 was returned which should return a profit share to [the] Council of $15,367."

Moving forward, Mr Maguire says the festival could be considered as still being in a "start-up" phase where costs would continue to rise as the level of production, programming and marketing increases to allow for growth.

Creative Hastings intends to develop the festival beyond the Spiegeltent into other regional venues including the Hastings City Art Gallery, MTG and rural community halls which will also increase costs, he adds.

Mr Maguire recommends the report from Creative Hastings on the 2015 Hawke's Bay Arts Festival be received by council. The matter will be raised at this week's council meeting on Thursday at 2pm.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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