Cityfolk Festival suffers ‘worst year’ from weather

By Kelli Wynn,

Staff Writer

Updated 12:50 AM Thursday, July 12, 2012

DAYTON — The recent Cityfolk Festival endured a 60-percent drop in revenue, which organizers attribute to severe weather. But despite the financial hit, plans are under way to stage the event in 2013.

“This is probably the worst year we have had for the Cityfolk Festival,” said Kathleen Alter, Cityfolk executive director.

The festival started a day late after a violent thunderstorm system with wind gusts exceeding 80 mph hit the area June 29, causing the cancellation of opening day. A day later, excessive heat kept crowds down.

Cityfolk usually draws between 60,000 to 70,000 people for the weekend, but Alter estimated that this year’s attendance was around 25,000.

The festival concluded July 1, but another severe weather threat caused the festival to be shut down for two hours.

“Sunday night is normally not a financial boost for us because most people are coming down for the fireworks,” Alter said, adding that the City of Dayton pays for the fireworks display.

“We put up and took it down two times that weekend,” she said while praising the work of volunteers.

Last year the festival brought in about $150,000 in donations and revenue, Alter said. This year, the total was about $60,000, which is $30,000 less than what the event made in beverage sales alone last year.

“It means that we are obviously going to have to make some cuts in our budget,” Alter said when asked about 2013. “We are still planning to have a festival next year.”

Cityfolk also plans on going forward with its concert series, which occurs September through April. The organization sells tickets for those performances, but the festival is its biggest event of the year in terms of raising funds, Alter said.

Cityfolk is a three-day, multi-cultural celebration, featuring traditional and ethnic music, dance and arts from all over the world.

Festival-goers are asked to donate $5 to help cover the expenses. Volunteers also work as a part of the festival’s bucket brigade and stand at entrances and stages collecting donations.

The budget for this year’s festival was more than $220,000, which was $30,000 less than 2011’s budget.

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