Buskers event runs at loss of $14,000

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014

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The Christchurch City Council-owned World Buskers Festival ran at a $14,000 loss this year.

The loss is the first recorded since the council bought the festival in 2009 amid concerns it might shift to another city.

Fronting up to the council's finance committee yesterday, World Buskers Festival Trust chairman Geoff Cranko said the festival made an operating surplus of $90,000 over the past four years.

Over that time, the festival's operating costs had risen by $1 million to $2.2m as a result of the earthquakes.

"During that time, the council's contribution to the festival has been unchanged. The trust and its contractors . . . have funded that entirely," Cranko said. "This is the first year we have ever shown an operating loss."

The council provides $230,000 annually for the festival. It proposes cutting that figure by 15 per cent in the next financial year, but the trust that runs the festival wants its funding kept at current levels.

It was also seeking a $100,000 underwrite so it could put a new management team in place and start moving the festival back into the central city but, yesterday, Cranko withdrew that request. Cranko said the trust might come back to the council with a further funding request at a later stage but, in the meantime, it was looking at other options for funding the festival's transition.

The trust's decision to withdraw its funding request follows stinging comments late last month from council finance committee chairman Raf Manji about the costs of running the festival.

Manji said $2.2m was an "exceptional sum of money for buskers who generally stand outside and play music or do tricks" and that the council should not be in the events business.

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- Fairfax Media

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