‘We have money in the bank’: Folk says it’s erased $100,000 in debt

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Folk on the Rocks board members say the festival is no longer in the red after erasing a $100,000 loss that loomed at the start of this year’s event.

In a statement Wednesday, Folk on the Rocks president Ryan Fequet said a 2016 festival almost didn’t happen until the community stepped up to provide financial and in-kind support.

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The addition of Warm the Rocks on the Friday night also helped the festival surpass projected ticket, beer and merchandise sales.

While numbers likely won’t be finalized until this fall’s AGM, Folk on the Rocks vice-president Ashley Makohoniuk told Moose FM attendance was steady over the weekend with an average of 2,300 people visiting the site each day.

Makohoniuk says those factors and more helped turn the 2016 festival around.

“In 2014, we were in the red by about $50,000 and then in 2015 we were in the same situation,” she said. “Going into this year’s festival we were in the red by about $100,000 so it was an uphill battle.

“We are right now sitting in the black so the debt is gone and we have money in the bank.”

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Earlier this year, Folk board members were forced to make a number of difficult decisions with a tightened budget.

They included cutting back festival programming like Rock the Folks, reducing staff support and streamlining select operations.

Makohoniuk admits there were moments of serious doubt heading into Yellowknife’s largest annual festival.

“We just took it day-by-day,” she said. “We had a lot of payables still due when the year started and we didn’t have money to guarantee hiring a new executive director.

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“It was very close to not happening … almost every day we teetered on that line.”

Things appear to be turning around for Folk on the Rocks however, with board members already looking forward to next year’s event.

“We’re really, really confident,” added Makohoniuk. “We’ll see you there on the sand in 2017.”

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