Sponsored by Lane Powell

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

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


Read more...

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


Read more...

Will Medford Ever Be Cool?

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.


Read more...

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


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