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Officials optimistic festival earnings in black

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Mickey Thomas of Starship belts out “Sara” during Thursday's performance at the Clovis Music Festival. Organizers said the 70s and 80s group helped bring a different audience to the Curry County Event Center.

A few days after thousands of Clovis residents heard the sounds of Buddy Holly and Starship, Clovis Music Festival officials are optimistic the weekend ended up in the black.

Attendance numbers and sponsorships were up for the four-day festival, which kicked off with a Wednesday musical at Marshall Auditorium and finished with a trio of nightly concerts at the Curry County Event Center.

So too, were the kind words, festival chair Randy Petty said.

“The compliments usually are good, but this one has been a lot more enthusiastic,” Petty said. “I feel like in verbal response it’s been much better received.”

Petty estimated about 6,700 attended the three concerts, but Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos said many of those weren’t part of the $20-per-ticket crowd.

Some tickets were sponsor freebies and other attendants were there as part of security, but got counted, Kos said.

She said the festival drew $27,840 in ticket sales. That’s up from last year’s total of $23,360, but short of the goal of $30,000.

Concessions were slightly less than anticipated, but Kos said $13,000 in lodger’s tax money will help defray promotional costs.

“We don’t have all of the expenses in,” Kos said, “but I feel we’ll be break-even or close.”

If that’s the case, Kos said, she would consider it a win, as the last four festivals have lost money.

Both Kos and Petty felt bringing in Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas, a 70s and 80s band, bolstered Thursday’s attendance while the Friday and Saturday shows still gave fans the Holly-era music they expect year in and year out.

“In results of people talking to the streets, it helped draw a different crowd,” Petty said. “I think a lot of folks were appreciative that we’d brought in something fresh.”

As far as booking Starship again, or a different group, Kos said she hopes something similar can be scheduled for the 2011 festival.

“That’s not just my call,” Kos said. “We have a board and committee, but I hope so. I’ve already got my list going.”

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