Detroit Electronic Music Festival

Electronica pioneer Kevin Saunderson has released an update on the future of the Fuse-In Detroit Electronic Music Festival:

Ladies and Gentleman; I know many of you want to know what’s going on with the festival for 2006. I can not tell you for sure, but I have been told that the City of Detroit is in negotiation right now and are only considering companies that can pay for the festival expenses out right. Which I believe is a wise decision. This festival needs financial stability. Unfortunately with our greatest efforts, we could not achieve what was necessary to continue to produce the festival in 2006. Here are some of the facts why, questions and answers:

Q How many people attended the festival last year?

A We sold 41,000 tickets last year. That translates to 37,000 1 day tickets and 4,000 multi day tickets.

Q Are the numbers down from previous years?

A Yes, but just slightly. Comparing beer revenues from 2004 to 2005 suggests we really only had approximately 50,000 people in 2004. This does represent a small decline.

Q So was the festival successful? It sounds like you a lot less people than in the past.

A Considering the planning window we had put this thing together, we think the festival was incredibly successful. In addition, our numbers last year, and the fact that Hart Plaza capacity is less than previously thought, suggest that our earlier festivals did not have 1,000,000 people in attendance as previously reported.

Q Did charging for the festival have a big impact?

A We surveyed festival goers and they told us that they thought ticket prices were extremely reasonable. The smaller than expected ticket sales were caused partly by inaccurate counts from previous festivals and partly from our own overly optimistic goals for last year’s festival. Finally, the biggest factor in lower ticket totals was our inability promote, because we were only approved for the permit 9 days before the event. This made advance ticket sales and fundraising nearly impossible, so we couldn’t do follow through on our advance marketing program. The other sign that our issue was promotion was the fact that in previous years there were a much larger number of out of town guests. To be successful, this festival needs to be promoted starting in November.

Q How will you pay the invoices of the vendors? Many say they haven’t been paid.

A Yes, there are several vendors that MusicLogical still owes money. My intention was to bring a partner with some financial stability and resources in to partner up with MusicLogical and relieve the debts from the 2005 Fuse-In festival, but at this point we have not been able to achieve that.

Q Are you saying you lost money?

A Yes, because of lack of promotion time, the festival sold less tickets, generated less revenue than we would have hoped. The costs were tight and we had a very good handle on the operational aspects of this event. This was not about our operation of the event – it was about not having enough time to properly market the event and draw the crowds that still want to hear our music. I believe people would be surprised at how tightly this festival was run and how organized the entire effort really was. If we had 10,000 more foreign visitors, not only would we have broken even, but the city of Detroit would have received that economic spillover as well.

Q Can the festival have financial success?

A Yes, absolutely. If it is run as well as we ran it, and if it was started 6 months earlier (assuming the weather was positive) it would absolutely make money, and be able to generate cash that the City could use to help rebuild Hart Plaza for other festivals.

This is too great a festival to keep down. If the city would allow enough time to promote it by awarding the festival permit months in advance instead of days in advance, this festival could continue to bring music and dollars downtown for years to come. As an ambassador of our music (Techno) and our city (Detroit), I will continue to do whatever I can to spread the word throughout the world.

via Kevin Saunderson

Leave a Reply