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Festival announces record-breaking year

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Hagadone News Network | December 13, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — For the third straight year, the Festival at Sandpoint broke records.

Partly due to a capacity increase and partly due to three sold-out performances, Festival officials announced Monday that the annual summer music series broke multiple organizational records.

The news was announced as part of the Festival's annual report, which highlighted Festival programs programs from October 2022 to September 2023.

The Festival generated just under $2.38 million, 63% of which was raised by programs, 21% from fundraising, and 3% from grants. Of its expenses, totaling just over $2.1 million, 77% was spent on programs, 19% on administration, and 4% on fundraising.

"This marks the third consecutive year of notable financial success, with our year-round team working diligently to chart our future, including the exciting possibility of a new venue," Festival executive director Ali Baranski said in the report. "Our diverse and skilled staff contributes to efficient operations and collaborative synergy, fostering growth and innovation in various facets of our organization. We take great pride in our sustained success and eagerly look forward to further expansion, enhancing our impact on the community."

Festival officials said in the report that while concerts at Memorial Field are successful, the organization is actively seeking a permanent home "better suited to our organization's needs and future growth."

Toward that end, it partnered with two consulting firms on a comprehensive feasibility study. The study explored both the potential for a new venue to enhance its operations while also allowing for the expansion of its education program and a greater economic impact on the region.

"The insights derived from this feasibility study will serve as a valuable roadmap, guiding FAS in our long-term plan to find a permanent home that aligns with our mission," Baranski said in the report.

With one of the Festival’s best and highest-caliber lineups in the organization's history came record ticket sales, sponsorships, and donations, Baranski said.

The 2023 Summer Series sold more individual tickets than the Festival's previous record-breaking year. In addition, the Family Show and Grand Finale, which featured the Festival at Sandpoint Orchestra's inaugural performances, both broke ticket sales records.

In addition, the Festival expanded its year-round education programs and offerings over the past year. Festival officials added that its Pre-K Outreach Program completed its second year at Little Lambs and Selkirk School and has added two schools to the program for the 2024 summer season.

More than 70 students participated in the in-class lessons, which are offered at no charge and are designed to engage students through rhythm, movement, and song.  

The rhythm-based approach helps students establish strong foundations at a pivotal age of 3-6 years, which is one of the largest gaps in music education nationwide, Festival officials said.

Thanks to donors, the Festival added 20 instruments to its extensive instrument library, including violins, basses, cellos, electric and bass guitars, trumpets, and horns. The library also includes a variety of music accessories, including an assortment of amplifiers, stands, strings, and cases.

Also announced in the report was the creation of an endowment fund, which Festival officials said will serve as a cornerstone for the group's future.

"[It will allow] us to continue delivering exceptional performances and fostering music education opportunities in our community for generations to come," Baranski said.

FAS officials also celebrated five local students who received a total of $6,500 in scholarships in support of their endeavors in continuing education. Receiving scholarships were Hannah Adams, Max Bazler, Evan Schwenk, Arie Vandenberg, and Elizabeth Cuch.

In addition, the Festival at Sandpoint noted its three new full-time staff members: Cienna Roget, marketing and office manager; Veronica Knowlton, operations manager; and Tess Howell, finance and development manager.

Information: festivalatsandpoint.com