Arts festival needs broader range

The 2014 financial ledger of Arts Festival Dunedin has ''a modest surplus'' and the festival will return in 2016 with a line-up designed to attract a broader audience.

Festival director Nicholas McBryde said the figures were sufficient but disappointing.

''The numbers were good but not as good as we would have liked.''

The festival started on the financial back foot with about $60,000 less given collectively between three festival funders - Otago Community Trust, Creative New Zealand and Dunedin City Council.

Funding from business partnerships was down about $50,000.

Despite starting with a shortfall of more than $100,000, the festival had a surplus of about $10,000.

''That is quite an achievement.''

Historically, about $900,000 was needed to hold the festival.

Mr McBryde said to increase ticket sales, the festival needed a broader range of shows, with a broader audience appeal, and this was the challenge for 2016.

''If we want to grow the festival audience, we have to twist what we have on offer to include some other kinds of audience.''

The 2016 festival would be held a week earlier and include some cheaper performances, he said.

Festival Trust chairman Malcolm Farry said the board had appointed Mr McBryde as the 2016 festival director.

Mr McBryde was the only full-time staff member and it was unique for such a festival in New Zealand to have one full-time staff member, Mr Farry said.

''We are fortunate to have someone of Nicholas' calibre who has the artistic side, as well as the financial and business side.''

The streamlined operation allowed the council to give the festival less than other New Zealand councils needed to give festivals with more staff.

''Nicholas does a remarkable job for this city,'' Mr Farry said.


Arts Festival Dunedin 2014

Acts: 39
Performances: 94
Gallery shows: 10
Audience numbers: About 12,750
Budget: About $900,000
Surplus: About $10,000
2016 Festival dates: September 30 to October 9


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