Panama City Beach Seafood, Music & Wine Festival Success

by January 19, 2009 • 10 comments

October’s Panama City Beach Seafood, Music & Wine Festival was in my opinion a huge success.  Now, some of my readers may think that I’m taking after many of the local media outlets in reporting things successful just because the TDC said it was, even though the numbers don’t support it.  *cough- Summer White Sale -cough*  But, I do believe it was a success because it was good for our area, and did something that was never before done with an event on Panama City Beach – provided good solid numbers that are irrefutable.

You see, some may scoff at the attendance of 9,526.  But I say, what do you have to compare it to?  Previous Indian Summer Music Festivals?  You mean the events where 30,000 attendees were estimated, but never substantiated?  You do know those numbers were pulled out of the air, don’t you.  What about the Thunder Beach numbers?  I was told by a reliable inside source that those numbers were also pulled out of the air.  60,000 attendees is VERY pie in the sky.  But of course, to their credit, how could they determine their rally attendance – they don’t charge for anything.  What has made it a success has also created limitations as to determining what it really is.

The single element that made the PCB Fest a success was that they came back to the table with real figures.  The end result is clear and concise.  Although the numbers aren’t what some had hoped, they are real none-the-less.

Jack Bishop said in the TDC meeting last week when he presented these numbers that they made some mistakes and learned a lot and to his credit, this is the first time he’s pulled anything like this off.  Of course, he had help, but still, I think this is the most promising event we have right now for our area.

I attended and talked to countless people – many of which came down from Alabama and Georgia just for this event.  In many instances the goal of this event, actually worked.  I know Lee Sullival was critical of this event, and you know I was in the beginning as well, but kudos to Jack, CJ, and their team for not only putting on a good show, but bringing back some solid numbers that are real and will help us build not only this event, but others in the future.

Please enjoy the stats below:

  • First festival in area to offer advance discount tickets online
  • First tickets sold online were to Troy, Missouri
  • Total attendance over the 3 days = 9526
  • Zip Codes of Pre Sale Tickets were 62% out of Bay County
  • Parking lot surveys taken during the evening hours of the festival reflect a 40% non Florida attendee!
  • The Largest supporting areas outside of Florida are Alabama & Georgia respectively
  • Percentage of all tickets sold were sold in advance online = 28.21%
  • Percentage of tickets sold that were 3-day = 15.3%
  • There were 17,566 unique visitors to the official festival website: www.panamacitybeachfest.com July-Oct 2008
  • In-Kind marketing partners provided an estimated $300,000+ in advertising of the event between July-Oct
  • Marketing efforts were focused on drive-to markets and included an emphasis on AL, GA, TN, MS, LA and Florida and included radio, television, outdoor, print, internet and over 2.25 million e-mail blasts between Sept 4-Oct 1
  • Local marketing included 9 radio stations, 4 television/cable outlets, 6 print media outlets, outdoor media, internet campaign
  • The organizers of the festival will be forming an advisory committee made up of hoteliers, food vendors, retail vendors, volunteers and others
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1 Susan January 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Thank you Jason… This was very well put and your points are right on.

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2 DJ January 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm

ITS NICE TO SEE THAT SOMEONE FINALLY TRACKS THE NUMBERS. ALL BUSINESSES DO THAT DAILY. YET $300,000+ WAS SPENT ON ADVERTISING AND BROUGHT 9526 VISITORS TO THE FESTIVAL THATS $31.50 PER VISITOR. IS THAT GOOD USE OF MONEY? WHAT DID THEY SPEND AND THE FESTIVAL? I THINK MORE INFORMATION IS NEED

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3 CJ Ryan January 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm

DJ,

In the interest of full disclosure, this is CJ Ryan a partner of Eventertainment Group (the company Jack Bishop, Steve Pizza and myself formed to put on this event). My role in the company is to handle the marketing of the event and I’d like to share some thoughts on your comments.

You make a valid point, but consider that the actual true cost to the festival for advertising was less than $15,000 hard dollars – the $300,000 figure Jason noted was for “in-kind”, or in other words it was donated by various media partners and sponsor partners of the festival. Also consider that this amount included all promotional announcements (that may or may not have sold the entire event but did in every instance promote in a positive way the destination). In a perfect world this entire amount would have translated into actual attendance to this event or dollars for this specific weekend – the truth is it was $300,000 in marketing of both the festival and the destination and who knows how that might translate into real dollars/guests to the destination over the year.

p.s…. Jason – thank you for your support of the event.

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4 Bryan Durta January 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Jason, CJ, or Jack:
I have a question about how the 3-day tickets are accounted for in the attendance number of 9526. Is each 3-day ticket holder just considered 1 attendee, or does he/she count as 3? Thank you.

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5 CJ Ryan January 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Bryan,

The attendance count of 9526 is the total # of people through the gates over the 3 days.

Hope this helps.

CJ

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6 Jesse January 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm

“$15,000 hard cash”

What about the $60,000 from the TDC?

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7 CJ Ryan January 27, 2009 at 7:15 am

Jesse,

TDC $ breakdown… $50,000 of the $60,000 goes toward putting on the $400,000+ event and $10,000 of the $60,000 is specifically for marketing. We then spent an additional $5000+ in additional marketing we could not accomplish via our “in-kind” partners.

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8 Tom January 27, 2009 at 10:45 am

I will not attend another nor will I embarrass myself again by recommended it. Last years Seafood Festival was the poorest in terms of return on admission I have attended. Next year do an exit poll and asked how may will come back. I think that should be your success number. Maybe a lesson that can be learned from Thunder Beach and that is the cost of admission is not the best indicator of success. Creating a good clip trap is not a good long term investment.

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9 brigid johnson July 25, 2009 at 10:20 am

where is the fest been held and how do i get advanced tickets. thanks

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10 Jeanne July 28, 2009 at 3:23 am

http://www.panamacitybeachfest.com will give you ticket and festival information.

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