Winter Park & Fraser Chamber releases Snowball numbers
July 11, 2013
FRASER VALLEY — March's Snowball music festival was financially good for the Valley, according to a study the chamber of commerce recently presented.
But whether the community actually benefitted directly from the concert is still unclear.
Producers of the Snowball music festival, which took place March 8-10 in Grand Park, released their economic impact study for the festival and Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park & Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce, presented it to the Fraser Board of Trustees on Wednesday, July 3.
“It was great that Fraser stepped up and wanted to host this, and there are probably ways that every business that is a chamber member, from Winter Park Resort to Grand Lake, can find ways to use this event better and find a better return,” Ross said.
The producer's report estimates $5.8 million was spent by Snowball attendees in the towns of Winter Park and Fraser, with the average local attendee spending $354 and the average non-local attendee spending $528 for the concert.
The report was completed by compiling information from 500 respondent's answers to surveys festival producers sent out.
The report estimates that $1,19 million was spent on lodging by festival-goers and $3.2 million was spent outside of the festival.
Ross also presented the results of the chamber's survey that received feedback from more than 500 businesses and community residents. The respondents were nearly split down the middle between chamber member businesses and individuals in the community who responded as residents.
The survey completed by the chamber found that the majority of people who responded to the survey, 70 percent, did not attend the festival.
The survey asked respondents to rank different aspects of the concert on a scale of one to five; five being the highest ranking and one being the lowest ranking. The highest ranked aspect of the festival was the police and first responders who did an "excellent job," Ross said.
"Police and first responders getting a 3.8 is really amazing," Ross said.
Other aspects of the festival were ranked as well and were presented by Ross. "In general we read this as people agree that this event helped us market, transportation was good, first responders and police were excellent, the location was good, and that traffic control was the one that fell down," Ross said. "I just want you to give everyone a big hand on that because we did have 10,000 people that came to town," Ross said in regards to traffic control.
Ross divided the respondents into business and individual respondents for certain answers to the chamber's survey.
"Businesses answered they agreed the event drove business to the community but it did not drive business directly to their business," she said.
Respondents were allowed to list what they believed the positives from the concert were and found positive exposure of the area as No. 1. People also thought the concert brought people to the community and brought revenue to the community and businesses.
The top two negatives listed by respondents were traffic and drugs.
One of the most telling questions asked by the chamber's survey was whether people believed the concert should be brought back to the community.
The survey found that 48.98 percent respondents who replied to the survey as a business thought the concert should return to the community and 41 percent did not think it should return.
Individual residents who responded to the survey flip-flopped with businesses and a slightly higher percentage thought the concert should not be brought back to the community.
In terms of sales-tax collections for the month of March, Ross reported that Grand County saw an increase of 6 percent or $33,545, Winter Park saw an increase of 15 percent or $103,972, and Fraser saw an increase of 12 percent or $20,829.
The Chamber does not have the tools to isolate the increase in sales tax revenue for the specific weekend that the concert took place, but reported that the wastewater flows for the Fraser Valley increased by 15.2 percent for the Snowball weekend.
The Chamber received $62,700 in sponsorship dollars from various entities and municipalities to help with the concert. The total amount spent on this event came out to about $116,000.
"For a first-year event, it was extremely successful, more successful than their first two years," said Clark Lipscomb, who is the owner of Grand Park where the event venue was located. "I think everybody should be extremely proud of hosting a first-year event, and in my view, now we look at how do we improve it from here and how do you make everybody's cost less and have more visitors come."
This was Snowball's third year of existence, and first year in the Fraser Valley. The previous two years, the concert took place in Edwards.
"Is this a demographic you want to attract? And I think to the future, that is the bottom line," said Fraser Trustee Steve Sumrall in support of the festival.
"It was great that Fraser stepped up and wanted to host this, and there are probably ways that every business that is a chamber member, from Winter Park Resort to Grand Lake, can find ways to use this event better and find a better return," Ross said.
Though Ross commented the event's producers have expressed a desire to bring the festival back to the Fraser Valley next year, whether the event will be allowed to return to the Valley has yet to be decided.
Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin was asked to begin organization of a workshop with the other involved municipalities and entities to discuss what the future of the event might be.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334