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Events are an important part of a community’s economic impact. In many communities across the country, funding is getting tighter and tourism revenue is going down. This is why knowing the economic impact of your event is so important to a successful event.

Real Examples

Montana Folk Festival

One example we like to showcase is the Montana Folk Festival in Butte Montana (population 33,000). It’s a free, multi-day music festival that covers most of the Uptown area. Starting as the National Folk Festival, this event has grown into an annual tradition. Like many events, the Montana Folk Festival has struggled with fundraising, recruiting volunteers, and the weather but because the committee was willing to get past “we’ve always done it this way” and explore new options, the 140,000 attendees don’t know this. They simply experience exceptional performers in a stellar setting and spend more than $8 million annually.

Annual National Storytelling Festival

Another great example is the Annual National Storytelling Festival in historic Jonesborough, Tennessee (population 5,300). This world renowned three-day storytelling event started with no more than 60 attendees and storytellers in 1973. As with any event, the program adjusts over time to meet the needs and interests of attendees and sponsors. The National Storytelling Festival added live-streamed events a few years ago which grew to 35,000 listeners from around the world. The small-town festival draws more than 10,000 attendees and has an economic impact of $7.6 million annually.

World Championship BBQ Goat Cook Off

Brady, Texas (population 5,425) has been home to the World Championship BBQ Goat Cook Off for the past 44 years. Over time, attendance and revenues dwindled. In 2016 the local Chamber of Commerce was faced with a decision – continue to watch the event decline or make bold changes. Cygnet Strategies provided an honest assessment of what was working and what wasn’t and then reviewed every aspect of the event with them. Difficult decisions were made, forming the foundation for a challenging, but productive, year of reinvention. In 2017, this one-day event brought 10,000 people to Richards Park (double the attendance in 2016) and created nearly $500,000 in economic impact. There is still more work to do, but the positive feedback from attendees, cookers and vendors showed the board they are moving in the right direction.

How to Move Forward

As you look forward to 2018, now is the time to determine your event’s economic impact and create a plan to rev up your event. Having this knowledge is the power needed to fight for or defend your budget, generate new sponsorships, create passion in volunteers, and increase event attendance.

Cygnet Strategies has provided Special Event Assessments and Event Economic Impact Analysis for events across the country. With our customized approach, we can create a plan that ensures the success of your event for years to come.