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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
31
nice_enough 10:06 am
16 May 12
#

I find it hard to comprehend with such huge ticket prices+camping prices and fairly decent attendance that the Folk festival would not be turning a huge profit.

Other big festivals (say the Big Day Out or Splendor in the Grass) also get about 10,000 punters through the door and would have to pay the performers huuuuuge sums of money, eg this years Big Day Out headliners Kanye West and Soundgarden would charge at a guess $400,000+ per performance. I doubt any of the acts in the Folk Festival would charge anything even remotely close to that that or even receive that much in totality.

That plus having almost all of your staffing volunteered should add up.

How they are not turning a bigger profit margin is beyond me.

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32
johnboy 10:09 am
16 May 12
#

well they don’t want to turn a profit now do they?

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33
Hadley 10:51 am
16 May 12
#

I work really hard to pay artists what they ask for, and can only think of a few occasions where I have had to negotiate fees and give an artist less than what they ask for. I am not sure where you are getting this info from. If artists are unhappy with the fee they are paid I would hope they would talk to me rather than a news outlet about it.

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34
Ben_Dover 11:04 am
16 May 12
#

LegalNut said :

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

This year, the most expensive ticket was $425 which got 4.5 days of entertainment from 9am to 2am and camping on site. I can think of very few events that offer so much programmed entertainment for such a low price.

Glastonbury Faire UK £195 + £5 booking fee ($ 321.59 Au)

Acts:

U2
Morrissey
Biffy Clyro
B.B. King
Wu-Tang Clan
Two Door Cinema Club
Metronomy
The Master Musicians of Joujouka

Coldplay
Elbow
Paolo Nutini
Tinie Tempah
Rumer
The Gaslight Anthem
Tame Impala
Stornoway

Beyoncé
Pendulum
Plan B 1
Paul Simon
Laura Marling
Don McLean
The Low Anthem
Fisherman’s Friends

Primal Scream y
Mumford & Sons
Fleet Foxes
Bright Eyes
The Wombats
The Vaccines
The Naked & Famous
Brother
Chipmunk

+ Several hundred more Acts, you know, actual acts, ones people have heard of, with international recognition.

http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/line-up-poster/

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35
johnboy 11:24 am
16 May 12
#

Hadley said :

I work really hard to pay artists what they ask for, and can only think of a few occasions where I have had to negotiate fees and give an artist less than what they ask for. I am not sure where you are getting this info from. If artists are unhappy with the fee they are paid I would hope they would talk to me rather than a news outlet about it.

Hi Hadley, I should have been clearer, I was talking about the wider festival, not the majestic.

I think the majestic is great and the folk festival should fund it out of their normal operations.

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36
Hadley 11:42 am
16 May 12
#

When you put forward anecdotal evidence when you are in the position of an editor and journalist for a news website you damage the reputation of The Majestic and the festival as a whole.

You can’t put up this many posts where you absolutely trash the Folk Festival, not to mention quotes from anonymous festival experts that imply the festival is embezzling profits and then say that you support the Majestic.

Nothing to do with money, your initial and subsequent posts show you have no interest in supporting The Majestic.

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37
johnboy 12:06 pm
16 May 12
#

At no point have I suggested embezzlement.

I’m sorry you feel that way Hadley.

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38
Hadley 12:26 pm
16 May 12
#

Sorry John, I didn’t mean you, I meant your anonymous ‘friend who knows a thing or two about festivals’, specifically the implication that someone is ‘cleaning up’ from the festival.

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39
Snarky 12:51 pm
16 May 12
#

Ben_Dover said :

Glastonbury Faire UK £195 + £5 booking fee ($ 321.59 Au)…/

That’s terifically helpful comparative information Ben_Dover.

I wonder why no-one’s thought of putting on a festival for 135,000 people in Canberra featuring U2, Morrissey, Biffy Clyro, B.B. King, Wu-Tang Clan, Two Door Cinema Club, Metronomy, The Master Musicians of Joujouka, Coldplay, Elbow, Paolo Nutini, Tinie Tempah, Rumer, The Gaslight Anthem, Tame Impala, Stornoway, Beyoncé, Pendulum, Paul Simon, Laura Marling, Don McLean, The Low Anthem, Fisherman’s Friends, Primal Scream, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes, The Wombats, The Vaccines, The Naked & Famous, Brother, Chipmunk + several hundred more Acts, you know, actual acts, ones people have heard of, with international recognition for $321.59 a ticket? Perhaps you should give it a whirl?

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40
DrKoresh 12:56 pm
16 May 12
#

Is that THE Hadley? 😮 Of CYT and the local theatre circuit fame? 😮 If so, hi Hadley, I miss you, you weird and wonderful fellow 😀

<3Chester

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41
I-filed 1:01 pm
16 May 12
#

Good to see Jorian Gardner back in from the cold. The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

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42
Hadley 1:09 pm
16 May 12
#

also in the interest of full disclosure, I book & run The Majestic at the NFF and have done for three years. Prior to that I was a performer for two years and prior to that a volunteer for seven years. I am not currently under contract from the National Folk Festival and my posts in no way reflect thoughts or opinions of their board of management or core staff.

I understand how frustrating ticket prices can be, but take issue with comments that imply the festival is raising prices so staff can continue to put gold plating on their limousines. I also take issue with comments from moderators that contain the sort of integrity that you expect from New Weekly and Famous magazine.

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43
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 1:23 pm
16 May 12
#

Hadley said :

also in the interest of full disclosure, I book & run The Majestic at the NFF and have done for three years. Prior to that I was a performer for two years and prior to that a volunteer for seven years. I am not currently under contract from the National Folk Festival and my posts in no way reflect thoughts or opinions of their board of management or core staff.

I understand how frustrating ticket prices can be, but take issue with comments that imply the festival is raising prices so staff can continue to put gold plating on their limousines. I also take issue with comments from moderators that contain the sort of integrity that you expect from New Weekly and Famous magazine.

Can you then provide a full itemised list of spending and profit margain and explain in detail why asking for money upfron then again on the day?

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44
LegalNut 1:35 pm
16 May 12
#

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Hadley said :

also in the interest of full disclosure, I book & run The Majestic at the NFF and have done for three years. Prior to that I was a performer for two years and prior to that a volunteer for seven years. I am not currently under contract from the National Folk Festival and my posts in no way reflect thoughts or opinions of their board of management or core staff.

I understand how frustrating ticket prices can be, but take issue with comments that imply the festival is raising prices so staff can continue to put gold plating on their limousines. I also take issue with comments from moderators that contain the sort of integrity that you expect from New Weekly and Famous magazine.

Can you then provide a full itemised list of spending and profit margain and explain in detail why asking for money upfron then again on the day?

Have you read the Financial Statements that were linked to earlier? It is pretty clear from those that the Festival isn’t running a profit and, while the spending is as opaque as any other organisation’s profit and loss, it does point out where the expenses are. ~$600k in staff costs for 10 staff is not bad at all and as Hadley put it, the staff aren’t running around in gold plated limousines.

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45
Hadley 1:40 pm
16 May 12
#

Unfortunately I can’t comment on the money side of things, so I guess I also only have anecdotal proof to say that any profit goes directly into running the festival.

Not wanting to donate to help The Majestic and then pay again for a ticket is something I totally understand. Ripping in to the festival, taking pot shots at it crowd sourcing and refusing to support even the concept of donating is something I can’t.

An opinion that the festival should not get money from anyone at all, not government or patron, is also totally valid. Accusations that the festival has no interest above squeezing as much money out of its audience as possible are offensive.

If you do not want to donate money to the festival please do not donate money to the festival.

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