Wherefore art thou, dear consumer?

| Print |  Email
Friday, May 01, 2009

ATSShakespeareFestival

Photo courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

ASHLAND Attendance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has dropped 6% from last year, as the weakened economy forces consumers to cut spending on luxuries like travel and the arts.

Predicting a 7% decrease in attendance for the current season, festival organizers last fall trimmed the 2009 budget by $1.6 million to $24.9 million. Now, nearly three months into the festival’s eight-and-a-half month run, the numbers are encouraging, although not a definitive sign of increased attendance in future months.

“The big question is whether this reduction is occurring because people are not going to come at all, or if they just haven’t decided yet,” says Paul Nicholson, the festival’s executive director.

He notes that in previous seasons attendees were likely to purchase their tickets and reserve accommodations months in advance. However, this year many patrons are not buying tickets until they’re sure they can afford the trip.

Because the festival’s budget and financial commitments are set months before it opens, even if ticket sales or attendance continue to decline further budget cuts will not take effect until the 2010 budget, which Nicholson anticipates will be no larger than this year’s budget.

With the busiest season yet to come in the summer when the outdoor Elizabethan stage opens, Nicholson looks to coming months with cautious optimism. The audiences for the spring plays are at about 90% capacity, which is comparable to last year. Nicholson says that bodes well for the summer.

“People are still seeking out the festival experience, but they are definitely revising their spending while they’re here,” says Katharine Flanagan, marketing director for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.

The festival falloff already is being felt by local businesses that depend on the $58 million the festival brings into Ashland annually. Several local hotels and restaurants for whom festival patrons account for at least half their sales, note business has already decreased by 10%.

Ashland Springs Hotel is running specials and promotions to boost business. Karolina Wyszynska, director of sales and marketing, says the hotel’s discount packages combining lodging with festival tickets, spa treatments or winery tours have been popular.

NICOLE STORMBERG
 

More Articles

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Monday, August 03, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS