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Midsumma returns biggest surplus in years
Aug05

Midsumma returns biggest surplus in years

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:24 Written by // Rachel Cook

Midsumma announced its biggest surplus in years at their Annual General Meeting last week.

The festival recorded a $154,769 surplus which is over $100,000 more than their last surplus which was in 2010.

Midsumma chair Aaron Hockly was pleased to announce the improvements after “many years of losses”.

In 2013 the Festival recorded a loss of $78,883.

The report covers Midsumma’s previous 15 months as opposed to 12 months – the 15-month report was to allow for the organisation’s recent change to their financial year to match up with the standard financial year of July-June.

Previously, Midsumma’s reporting year was April-March, which caused some confusion with funding bodies and did not allow much time after the festival wrapped up in February to settle all accounts and implement the audit.

Midsumma festival manager Monique Thorpe told MCV the organisation was not expecting such a large profit.

“We were hoping to make up for the loss of 2013,” Thorpe said.

“It must be mentioned, however – before everyone thinks that we are flush with cash – that some of the money, approx $50,000, is income that has come in for the Midwinta Gala Ball with the costs associated for the event yet to leave the account. The profit of $110,000 at the close of March 2014 is closer to the actual profit made.”

Thorpe said the success of the past year was due to perfect weather at Carnival 2014 as well as the office team completing the workload of two or three people each to ensure that the budget stayed on track.

Thorpe said budgeting for the “worst case scenario” and sticking to budgets all contributed to this year’s achievement.

She said the same strategies will be employed in the coming year, even though the industry standard is to budget for 30 per cent capacity.

“The biggest risk every year is Carnival. Unfortunately, the costs remain the same whether the event is successful or not, whether it's sunny or raining and our suppliers do not give us a discount if our bar sales were lower than projected.”

The festival will also employ an event manager onsite at Carnival in 2015, which will ease the burden on current Midsumma staff.

Earlier this year Midsumma announced it will take over Pride March Victoria, which Thorpe says will need to be given additional attention in this first year of the new model.

“We are of course aiming for a surplus again in 2015, however with so many large changes this year to the organisation, including the addition of Midwinta and the management of Pride March, I will personally be happy with a break-even result, to allow the profit from 2014 to remain a 'rainy-day' or 'emergency' fund for Midsumma.”

T Dance will also remain a free event in light of its success this year:

“The changes implemented at T Dance in 2014 were part of this risk mitigation strategy,” Thorpe said.

“We were able to reduce the costs of T Dance and remove the pressure of selling tickets, which only served to amplify the effects of bad weather.

“If the weather is bad the crowd are less likely to purchase tickets to an outdoor dance-party. With the free T Dance model, we have saved the expenses associated with T Dance and more people get to enjoy the event.”

However, the challenges Midsumma face are still very real.

The festival expects to see government funding plateau or decline over the coming years.

“While it may look like we are sitting pretty financially, this is just a base level of stability that the organisation needs to become financially stable,” Thorpe said.

“This profit in 2014 is the start of that safety net fund for Midsumma, which is part of a larger effort to stabilise the festival and ensure its longevity.”

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Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook has worked in both the queer and mainstream media for over a decade. She wrote the syndicated column, ‘Who’s Afraid of Cheeky Biscuit’, and has written numerous articles and features for the queer press. She has also written for The Age and the ABC. Before becoming editor of Melbourne Community Voice, she was a producer for ABC radio. Between 2008 and 2012, Rachel was the editor of CHERRIE. In 2010 her book, A History of Queer Australia, was published and is currently in use in high schools across Australia.

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