Arts festival better not at holiday time

Nicholas McBryde
Nicholas McBryde
Arts Festival Dunedin made a profit last year but shifting it to coincide with the school holidays ``did not work''.

Festival director Nicholas McBryde said he would table the 2016 festival accounts at an Otago Festival of the Arts Trust meeting next Tuesday and it would reveal a surplus of about $17,000.

Mr McBryde was ``disappointed'' as the smaller-than-hoped-for surplus but pleased it was on the ``right side'' of the ledger, as ``covering costs is better than losing money''.

The ``social experiment'' of moving the festival dates last year to coincide with the school holidays ``did not work'' and would not be repeated next year, he said.

Many people who would usually attend festival shows took their children or grandchildren away during the school holidays.

``The kids aren't here to go to the kid's shows and the grown-ups aren't here to go to the grown-up's shows, so we missed on both counts.''

The cheaper tickets for children's shows also resulted in a smaller profit margin for the trust, he said.

The festival next year would run for 10 days from September 21, a week earlier than usual so it was before the school holidays and students' exams.

The trust had asked its three principal funders - Otago Community Trust, Creative New Zealand and Dunedin City Council - for more money to ensure the festival was sustainable and the requests had been ``received very well''.

The festival next year would be the 10th in the festival's 20-year history and Mr McBryde would continue as director.

``It's business as usual.''


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