Memories of the Collingwood Elvis Festival

It has been billed as “Summer’s Biggest Party.”

On October 16, 2017, Collingwood Council voted in favour, thank you very much, of moving forward with the Collingwood Elvis Festival for another two years.

STAFF REPORT #PRC2017-08 was submitted to council by Dean Collver, Director, Parks, Recreation & Culture, at the October 16th meeting:

THAT Council receives Staff Report PRC2017-08 entitled “Collingwood Elvis Festival Annual Review”;

AND FURTHER THAT Council approve the continuation of the Collingwood Elvis Festival for a two-year term with full understanding of the financial risks required to yield local economic impacts;

OR THAT Council direct staff to cease production of the Collingwood Elvis Festival, develop an Expressions of Interest to disseminate in search of a potential third party festival promoter, and allocate budget formerly associated with the Collingwood Elvis Festival to current, or new, PRC special event and festival activities.

The Corporate and Community Services Standing Committee considered the above recommendations at its meeting held October 2, 2017 and voted in favour of referring the following recommendation to Council for consideration:

THAT Council approve the continuation of the Collingwood Elvis Festival for a two-year term with full understanding of the financial risks required to yield local economic impacts.

The staff report went on to detail what were seen as success, challenges and proposed objectives:

2017 Successes
The 2017 Festival yielded several successes. From a staff perspective, Festival operations have been refined to a level that can reliably deliver a safe, positive experience for event attendees and value to event stakeholders. The redesigned street layout served to reduce attendee congestion, improve access to local businesses, and improve emergency services movement within the Festival core. Reducing the Festival programming to three days and to only two municipally-run stages greatly reduced the strain on municipal resources, allowing staff to more effectively manage the core programming but also to be able to respond to issues, emergencies, and opportunities that arose over the course of the event. Most notably, the economic impact of the 2017 Festival surpassed that of 2016 by 15%. The 2016 event resulted in an economic impact of $1.3 million with $917,000 in visitor spending directly attributable to the Elvis Festival whereas the 2017 event resulted in an economic impact of $1.5 million with $1.13 million in visitor spending directly attributable to Elvis Festival.

Current year challenges
Despite these successes the event continues to be challenged by the reliance of ticketed show revenues to subsidize the cost of the free components which create the critical mass and Festival atmosphere that has come to be expected by attendees. Ticket revenues continue to be unreliable and unpredictable year over year. This year’s research and anecdotal feedback suggests the quality of the free programming, warm temperatures, and an overall increase in competing festivals throughout the province as a result of Canada 150 funding may have been contributing factors to this year’s lower sales numbers. While these factors may alter results in future years, they will continue to be threats that cannot fully be mitigated under any operational model. The unpredictability associated with ticket revenues will always be an inherent risk proposition with events of this nature.

Proposed objectives
Should Council feel that the objectives accomplished in 2017 merit the associated costs, staff will continue to present the Festival in 2018 and 2019, assessing trends, analyzing the event research, and seeking new opportunities to position the Festival to generate as much revenue as possible to successfully meet the following objectives:

• Present a fun and positive experience founded in superior customer service
• Maintain or increase economic impact levels
• Continuously improve public safety
• Meet municipal budget targets

Should Council feel that the unpredictability of revenues and the cost of the 2017 Festival do not merit the return on investment, staff recommend ceasing the operation of the Elvis Festival and redirecting the current base budget towards the growth and development of current PRC eventactivities, and possibly new activities.

It should be noted that in 2017 alone, more than 100 event permits have been issued for 3rd party events on Town property. In addition to supporting these applications for permits, PRC provides infrastructure support and guidance to ensure the best possible outcome for these activities.

Mr. Collver’s entire staff report to council can be seen by clicking HERE

Let’s have a look back at some of the video reports from the Collingwood Elvis Festival!

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