Sound of Music organizers are requesting a $200,000 loan from Burlington, Ontario. Amidst financial struggles – Hamilton | Pro IQRA News

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The non-profit organization responsible for setting up Burlington, Ontario. The first annual downtown music event says he’ll need a six-figure short-term loan to continue the event.

Sound of Music (SOM) organizers called city council Tuesday for $200,000 in “temporary financial support” through 2023, citing the loss of sponsorship proceeds amid the ongoing struggles caused by the COVID pandemic.

“Many of our sponsorship partners have not been able to join us this year due to their recovery from the pandemic,” festival executive director Miles Rusak told city council members.

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“As a result…we found ourselves in a position where we could exhaust our cash reserves by 2023, which is why we are here today asking the City of Burlington to help us get through.”

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Rasak went on to say that revenue losses amid supply chain issues have also destroyed the festival’s ability to turn a profit, despite record attendance at the 2022 event.

The city’s finance team recommends approval of the loan to meet SOM’s short-term cash flow needs.

One-time funding in 2023 and consideration of an increase in the core budget grant are expected to help pay the money next year, according to a city financial report.

Burlington’s current annual operating budget provides just over $100,000 per year for the SOM Festival with “in kind” support in the form of traffic management personnel, WI-FI access, additional power and free use of the Central Park field.

SOM also receives dollars via provincial and federal government programs.

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More complications surrounded the ‘Live On The Lake’ event – a fundraiser at SOM – which failed to meet expectations, selling only 900 of the 2,000 they hoped to move, Rasak said.

“I think this has a lot to do with people who are still a little wary about buying tickets,” Rusak said.

“Many shows over the last couple of years have been canceled or rescheduled. There was no refund for some. I think people were a little shy.”

The director says he expects Live On The Lake to move to a biannual show to mitigate more financial risks, although a final decision has yet to be made.

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“That’s why I say focus on what we do well, which is Canada’s largest free outdoor music festival, nine days of free music,” Rusak said.

“That’s what we’re going to be focusing on very hard in 2023.”

SOM broke its attendance records in 2022 after emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, attracting an estimated 416,000 compared to the 225,000 it collected in 2019.

The financial impact on the community is about $32 million in revenue generated for city businesses, according to a third-party study — nearly $20 million more than the festival’s previous best performance.

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The event also filled 36 “full-year” positions and 600 volunteer positions in 2022.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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