Kidzone festival success prompts franchise suggestion

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013
Southland Times photo
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

Venture Southland ILT Kidzone Festival director Laura Russell has started planning for the Kidzone 10th birthday next year.

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@devlincolle The Kidzone festival is so successful it has the potential to become a nationwide franchise.

The idea was raised at a Venture Southland joint committee meeting this week after an overview of the successful 2013 festival.

This year 10,312 tickets were sold and sponsored tickets increased. Tickets were also sold online through a Kidzone website for the first time.

ILT Kidzone festival director Laura Russell told the meeting it was well supported by the Southland community and had received "phenomenal feedback" via an online survey.

Patrons who bought the 1401 online tickets were surveyed on various elements of the festival and the website and replied favourably. The board was told the festival had come in under budget.

The surplus, believed to be about $42,000, would be partly used for maintenance and to support the Kidzone 10th anniversary.

Directorate and joint committee member Maryann Macpherson suggested the festival could be franchised and said doing so could create tremendous opportunities.

Russell said it was an amazing event and nothing in the rest of the country compared to it.

Although the concept of a franchise was great, it was the community funding in Southland that helped the festival become a success. Funding meant tickets could be sold for $14 instead of $35.

"Other parts of the country might not be so successful with funders, which could hamper how successful it could be," she said.

There were other children's festivals but Kidzone was unique because after paying for the reasonably priced ticket everything else (apart from food) was free.

Every child should get to experience something like Kidzone, she said.

"They look forward to the festival just like Christmas."

Venture Southland tourism, events and community group manager Rex Capil said a lot of work would need to be done to further develop the concept of a franchise. Venture Southland had not reached that level yet.

"From a Venture perspective we need to first identify if there is demand from any other region and then it would be considered," he said.

The financial support from the Southland community and funders contributed to Kidzone success.

Russell said preparations were under way for the 10th birthday, which would be the biggest and best event yet.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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