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The Folk Festival wants you to pay more still to save the Majestic

By johnboy - 15 May 2012 79

my $100 for the majestic

The Folk Festival is a strange beast for a few reasons:

    — It relies on vast armies of volunteers working for free (often in highly professional capacities).

    — It charges like a wounded bull. Seriously it hoovers money out of my wallet harder than any casino I’ve visited.

    — It pays the most cursory to negligible amounts in advertising while constantly pushing for free PR (a sore point to those of us in the media).

    — It pays artists very little to nothing.

    — It gets tens of thousands of people through the gates to this profit making dream model.

    — And yet we’re constantly told it needs government handouts to make sure it keeps going.

Let us turn our thoughts now to The Majestic.

    — Once upon a time the Multicultural Affairs bods in the ACT Government paid a few tens of thousands for a Fringe Festival to the Multicultural Festival.

    — The Fringe was free to attend, the drinks were reasonably priced and it was pretty good entertainment.

    — But it was run by the colourful local figure of Jorian Gardner (now doing talkback radio for 2CA)

    — As far as I can tell Jorian, as is his way, annoyed the then Multicultural Affairs Minister John Hargreaves (there was huffing about burlesque being inappropriate but reasons can always be manufactured by motivated bureaucrats).

    — So the Fringe’s funding was given to the Folk Festival to run a fringey event inside the Folk Festival.

    — Now the punters had to pay hundreds of dollars or donate tens of hours to see the work of their public funding.

    — This did mean local talent finally got a run, something the Folk Festival had disgustingly neglected over the years.

    — This became known as “The Majestic” and it was wildly popular despite being in a tent shunted away from the main festival.

    — Now the Government funding for The Majestic has come to an end.

    Does the Folk Festival continue with an event that’s wildly popular with the punters?

    Of course not! It’s popular! They can soak the rubes for more dollars.

    And so we have the below begging letter asking you to cough up in advance so you can then pay a second fortune to get in and see something that used to, at bugger all public cost, be provided completely free in the middle of town.

    I often wonder if I’m too cynical, and then I realise I’m nowhere near cynical enough.

    I’ve got $100 I’ll pay to support The Majestic if it’s staged somewhere everyone can attend for free.

    We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

What’s Your opinion?


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79 Responses to
The Folk Festival wants you to pay more still to save the Majestic
1
Brindabella 11:52 am
15 May 12
#

Live music at Easter time? No contest. http://www.bluesfest.com.au is where it’s at.

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2
nice_enough 12:15 pm
15 May 12
#

The Folk Festival is odd, why is it out gated up and Epic, why can’t it be a city wide event that takes place in the CBD and surrounds, something more like Austins South by South West or the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Events peppered throughout the city venues and temporary stages throughout the city.

The way it is locked up in EPIC now doesn’t really add any value to the city and people of Canberra as it doesn’t interact with the city at all, it may as well be held in Bourke for what it does to the Canberra economy or the “vibe” of the city.

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3
Endrey 12:27 pm
15 May 12
#

Kill it.

Who cares about the folk festival? Overpriced, over-attended, under-considered.

Just run the majestic for $30/head in Glebe Park in a warm month. Maybe adjunct to the multicultural festival so the food and drink’s taken care of.

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4
GardeningGirl 1:29 pm
15 May 12
#

nice_enough said :

The Folk Festival is odd, why is it out gated up and Epic, why can’t it be a city wide event that takes place in the CBD and surrounds, something more like Austins South by South West or the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Events peppered throughout the city venues and temporary stages throughout the city.

The way it is locked up in EPIC now doesn’t really add any value to the city and people of Canberra as it doesn’t interact with the city at all, it may as well be held in Bourke for what it does to the Canberra economy or the “vibe” of the city.

+1
I keep wanting to go and check it out, but for that price in the charming surrounds of the dilapidated showground?

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5
Snarky 1:44 pm
15 May 12
#

Endrey said :

Kill it.

Who cares about the folk festival? Overpriced, over-attended, under-considered.

What garbage.

Overpriced $110 for music from 10:00am to midnight sounds good value to me. We saw 19 acts on the Saturday, and while there were maybe 2-3 I could have lived without the rest were great. $6.80 per great act is value for money in my eyes.

Over-attended Huh? It wasn’t packed like my daughter says GTM was on Sunday. And if there’s lots of people going then maybe (and I’m going out on a bit of a limb here ) its because the Festival is delivering what they want.

Under-considered. What is that supposed to even mean?

As to the OP’s comment “Seriously it hoovers money out of my wallet harder than any casino I’ve visited.” after you’ve paid what I’d consider a pretty reasonable price to get in, anything you spend after that is discretionary. Mrs Snarky and I always take our own lunch and buy a bit of dinner, maybe a few drinks. And we know we’ll be buying CDs as well, but that goes to the artists and I’m more than happy to do that.

We looked at Bluesfest, but the cost is substantially more, and taking time, accommodation and travel into account too it’s a pretty expensive alternative. And the NFF always offers a couple of name bands plus a swag of ones you’ve never heard of but are still amazingly talented performers.

Finally, the Majestic tent isn’t a permanent structure at EPIC, and presumably it costs to hire it, erect and service it and take it down. The gov’s done it up to now, but next year someone else will need to pay for it. Why wouldn’t you ask the people who benefit from it?. I’ll be happy to kick in a few dollars towards it.

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6
TheObserver 1:47 pm
15 May 12
#

Bit grumpy this morning Johnboy?

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7
DrKoresh 1:49 pm
15 May 12
#

The only reason I used to go was for the pharmacological cornucopia it used to offer, but it’s just not worth the entry fee, and they’ve made fence hopping much more difficult than it used to be in past years. It’s mindboggling to me that these supposed hippies can justify the price-gouging and savings account rape for what they bill as a charming, folksy and relaxed alternative community festival. It’s sickening.

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8
Ben_Dover 3:19 pm
15 May 12
#

DrKoresh said :

It’s mindboggling to me that these supposed hippies can justify the price-gouging and savings account rape for what they bill as a charming, folksy and relaxed alternative community festival.

Hippies + “folk” music + Greenie politics + multiculturalism + “alternative” acts + vegan food / animal rights stalls + “art” and “craft” + ACT govt involvement = perfect firestorm of right on P/C madness.

Thank god only silly hippies are enticed by such dire bilge, they deserve to be ripped off and taken advantage of.

No, I’m not a nice person.

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9
johnboy 3:28 pm
15 May 12
#

This in from a friend who knows a thing or two about festival management but would prefer not to put his name to it:

johnboy said :

nice spray on the folk festival!

i agree if they can’t make money of that ticket cost with almost no staffing cost and minimal act cost they must be stoned!

their production is two parts of nothing inside marquees with some staging sections.

someone is CLEANING UP off it!! my initial calcs show they would have cleared almost 3 mill on ticket sales if they do 10,000 weekend tickets, plus the bar which would be at least another 600k I would think, plus the stall holder fees they are smashing it.

So let’s do this again.

On the back of taxpayer subsidy, massive volunteer effort, and steep prices they are swimming in cash.

And yet they’re asking the community to pay in advance for a part of their festival they will in turn charge further admission for?

It’s nice work if you can get it I suppose.

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10
Snarky 3:48 pm
15 May 12
#

johnboy said :

So let’s do this again.

On the back of taxpayer subsidy, massive volunteer effort, and steep prices they are swimming in cash.

And yet they’re asking the community to pay in advance for a part of their festival they will in turn charge further admission for?

Any sources of actual numbers anywhere JB? While the Festival may well clear $3-4 million or more I’ll bet their outgoings all up are not cheap either, even if they don’t pay staff or performers (thinking of insurance, printing and advertising, security and other outsourced staff etc.) How much do they actually make? How much do you think they should be allowed to make before they incur a spray?

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11
TheObserver 3:56 pm
15 May 12
#

Struth Snarky, you are actually asking JB to do some research and get some facts to back up his long winded assertions. Health and Safety hint – when you start turning blue I’d suggest you stop holding your breath. I for one would love to see the basis for about 99% of what Honest Johnboy has posted.

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12
johnboy 4:03 pm
15 May 12
#

Snarky said :

Any sources of actual numbers anywhere JB? While the Festival may well clear $3-4 million or more I’ll bet their outgoings all up are not cheap either, even if they don’t pay staff or performers (thinking of insurance, printing and advertising, security and other outsourced staff etc.) How much do they actually make? How much do you think they should be allowed to make before they incur a spray?

I have no concern about any venture turning a quid. (Although I note the festival purports to be non-profit).

But in general I prefer a funding model where they put on a show and I choose if I want to pay for it.

Not I pay for them to put something on and then I pay to be allowed inside. For mine that’s a bit much.

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13
johnboy 4:13 pm
15 May 12
#

TheObserver said :

Struth Snarky, you are actually asking JB to do some research and get some facts to back up his long winded assertions. Health and Safety hint – when you start turning blue I’d suggest you stop holding your breath. I for one would love to see the basis for about 99% of what Honest Johnboy has posted.

Ooh you’re a special one aren’t you. Insinuation with no effort at all to actually address the argument.

Let’s see.

The folk festival this year got $225,000 in Events Assistance Program money from the ACT taxpayer.

Here’s all the links you might need to the transfer of funding from the Fringe Festival to the Folk Festival to run The Majestic.

Here are the folk festival ticket prices

Here the folk festival claims they get 50,000 people through the gates.

— Above is published in full their letter of demand that the community pay in advance for the right to be charged to see the show at the Majestic.

What more exactly would you like?

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14
TheObserver 4:54 pm
15 May 12
#

Allow me to deal with the first link – that shows how $225k was divvied up between a bunch of things – the folkie didnt get the lot as you seem to assert.

The funding of the Majestic you actually got right so that would be part of the 1%

Ticket prices – what is the point you are trying to make? Snarky addressed that in any event.

As for insinuation, allow me to bow, grovelling, to you Johnboy – as your post is a mix of insinuation, half truth and push poll dressed up as polemic and really is very long on assertion and woefully short on back up.

But it’s ironic really, a blogsite where the moderator is the troll.

I just wonder if you can source the background material on the fact that the event doesnt pay performers well or at all, and perhaps you could also provide your (factually based) insights on the local acts that have been ignored for years in the utterly damnable way insinuated by you.

You may also wish to reflect on whether your guidelines for posting are of equal applicability as on any measure you might need to moderate yourself- or is this ‘do as I say and not as I do”?

And as for being precious, I have a sh*t eating grin on my dial as I type – because you are back peddling like mad because you got nothin’.

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15
johnboy 5:24 pm
15 May 12
#

TheObserver said :

Allow me to deal with the first link – that shows how $225k was divvied up between a bunch of things – the folkie didnt get the lot as you seem to assert.

The funding of the Majestic you actually got right so that would be part of the 1%

Ticket prices – what is the point you are trying to make? Snarky addressed that in any event.

As for insinuation, allow me to bow, grovelling, to you Johnboy – as your post is a mix of insinuation, half truth and push poll dressed up as polemic and really is very long on assertion and woefully short on back up.

But it’s ironic really, a blogsite where the moderator is the troll.

I just wonder if you can source the background material on the fact that the event doesnt pay performers well or at all, and perhaps you could also provide your (factually based) insights on the local acts that have been ignored for years in the utterly damnable way insinuated by you.

You may also wish to reflect on whether your guidelines for posting are of equal applicability as on any measure you might need to moderate yourself- or is this ‘do as I say and not as I do”?

And as for being precious, I have a sh*t eating grin on my dial as I type – because you are back peddling like mad because you got nothin’.

All that and not one word actually addressing a single point made.

I had the conversations with folk festival organisers over many years where they said the local market had no interest in local music. (mistake pointed out by the wild popularity of the event)

I’ve talked to the musicians who play there about what they get paid. But let’s face it while vastly accomplished there’s rarely anyone booked who wouldn’t otherwise be playing at the turner bowlo.

And I’ve had the conversations over many years with the volunteers, so I know a thing or two there.

So I’m confident in my assertions. But I’d be happy to stand corrected should you have any actual information to bring to the discussion.

All we seem to get is abuse.

I was happy enough for the festival to continue on it’s way, albeit with personal reservations.

But this whole deal with the majestic stinks to high heaven (and the ACT Government is as to blame as anyone).

My apologies for sharing my opinion on the subject. But I don’t intend to stop because of you.

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