Timmins Stars and Thunder Festival may have $1.8M deficit, mayor says

The Stars and Thunder music and fireworks festival in Timmins, Ont., is expected to run a deficit for a second year in a row.

Festival last year ran a deficit of more than $500,000

Festival-goers take in some music at the 2018 Stars and Thunder festival last month. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

The Stars and Thunder music and fireworks festival in Timmins, Ont., is expected to run a deficit for a second year in a row.

Mayor Steve Black says says the anticipated shortfall could amount to as much as $1.8 million. A financial report will be presented to city council Tuesday night.

The eight-day festival featured a number of big names, including the Arkells, Bryan Adams and Our Lady Peace.

Black estimates the shortfall for the concert could amount to $90 per household.

"This year we took a significant loss so if we can reevaluate it, and come up with a better model working forward, then I fully support looking at those," he said.

Last year, the festival ran a deficit of $546,595.

'Risky business'

Trevor Hurtig runs the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. He says new events often hit rough patches.

"I think as you're trying to get going and you're trying to find what works for you, it is quite normal to see losses, there's no doubt about it," he said.

But he says even after years of successful events, organizers still have to work each year to book the right lineup and keep people buying tickets.

"We're always very cautious," he said.

"Enjoy the success while you can because you never know. It's a very volatile and very risky business."

Economic impact

Despite the deficit, Black says he anticipates the economic spin off of the event will still be good for the community.

"Last years event, we did a third party study and … the economic spin-off was around $10 million," he said.

"This year, I think that will be down."

Manager of policy, research and communications at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, Nick Stewart, says the chamber surveyed its members last year to determine the impact of the event.

The Stars and Thunder Music and Fireworks festival in Timmins has recorded a shortfall for a second straight year. What will this mean for the future of the festival? Timmins Mayor Steve Black spoke with Radio-Canada reporter Jean-Loup Doudard about how it all went. 7:39

"Approximately half of our members at that time indicated that Stars and Thunder directly benefited their bottom line," he said.

"It's not a giant surprise to hear that the biggest impact would have been on public facing businesses."

Black says he'll support another Stars and Thunder festival if re-elected this fall. Daniel Fortier has also put his name forward to be mayor in Timmins. He says the event could be shortened to three or four days.

With files from Jean-Loup Doudard

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