2019 Small Halls Festival reports financial losses

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A new Small Halls Festival financial report reveals that four of the community halls that participated in 2019 event reported losses.
The hardest hit was Brentwood Community Centre, where five events took place during the weekend of Oct. 4-6, including the marquee concert by country band Nice Horse. The hall reported a loss of $8,830.
“Unfortunately, one of the largest expenses in 2019 is the reimbursement to the Brentwood Community Centre,” reported community culture and tourism coordinator Amanda Murray. “The Brentwood country concert struggled with low online ticket sales, practically no door sales, and colder than normal night weather. As a result, the township has reimbursed the hall board approximately $5,100 to cover the loss [of the concert].”
All of the halls were reimbursed for their losses.
In the past, Clearview has received grant money from Celebrate Ontario grant, but did not apply this year. The festival did receive $28,000 in sponsorship funds, down from $30,000 the previous year.
According to the report, $46,893 was spent on advertising and marketing, and $16,200 on a new website. The website was funded through taxation, on top of an additional $25,000 that council sets aside for the festival during budget deliberations.
“The internal festival operating expenses for 2019 reduced radio, print and digital advertising by several thousand dollars (due to no grant and less sponsorship),” said Murray. “However, since the ticket sales were very slow even in September, we allocated more money towards advertising which resulted in higher than budgeted expenses. Advertising contracts have also changed. In past years, our advertisers were more generous with matching promotions, but in the past two years there has been a decline in those matching opportunities.”
A total of 833 tickets were sold at a value of $24,637.
Murray reported that 47 per cent of tickets were purchased by locals (within the L0M postal code) and the remaining 53 per cent were purchased by people outside of Clearview. The data shows that 77 tickets were purchased by people from as far away as the GTA, Barrie, London and Waterloo.
Overall the festival’s revenue was $95,122 and the expenses were $97,778 for a total loss of $2,656.
It takes 300 volunteers to pull off dozens of events in several venues throughout the municipality, with a focus on the six community run halls.
In a presentation to council, Murray said the festival has two key priorities: to promote Clearview and bring people into the communities.
CAO Steve Sage said the goal of the festival is promotion.
“It was never anticipated we were doing it for a profit,” he said, adding that if the township was about making money it wouldn’t do anything, but it does provide service. “There has been nothing that has put this community on the map like Small Halls Festival.”
“I want to thank you Amanda and all the volunteers,” said Councillor John Broderick. “It’s a heartwarming event. It’s a good news story.”

Ticket profit and loss by hall

Avening: -$666
Brentwood: -$8,830
Dunedin: $764
Duntroon: -$1,475
Nottawa: – no report
Singhampton: $450
Stayner: $3,099
Sunnidale: -$615

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  • Geo J Kleinveld

    The township does not need to make money on the small festival, but we should not continue a money losing venture. It has become too easy for the high priced Clearview staffers to waste taxpayer money.

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