Caribbean Night returned to Sidmouth in 2010 - what are the possible implications for FolkWeek?

After an absence of five years, Caribbean Night returned to the Knowle Arena in 2010. A crowd of over 2000 purchased tickets at 14 each and despite the numbers being lower than had been hoped, the organisers said it had been a success and they would do it again. In round figures the gross income was 30,000.

This raises some interesting questions about the finances of such an event. Prior to 2005, when it was run primarily by Councillor Stuart 'Lunatic' Hughes it was always said that it was not viable to run it as a one-off event, only as an add-on to the International Festival and using their stage and electrics etc. With low infrastructure costs and a gross income of sometimes 60,000 or more (?) where did the money go? This has been asked before and dating from 2004.

So if an independent organiser can make it work in 2010, could FolkWeek make the Knowle Arena work again if the marquee (or whatever was put there) was used all week?

This is all estimates: if it was a 100 person dance venue and if it attracted 300 people per day to various events, and if all these paid 8 per event the gross income is only 2400 per day or maybe 10,000 per week. In fact since the dances would be included in festival season tickets, the net income would be almost zero - against set up costs of maybe 10,000.

What actually happened was that the organiser lost a substantial amount of money in 2010 and a planned event was cancelled in 2011 owing to poor advance ticket sales. It may be tried again in 2012 - but this is doubtful because it would clash with the Olympics and maybe with a further period of financial instability.


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