Over the past three years, Colorado’s annual Monolith Festival has built a reputation as the go-to event for discovering up-and-coming acts on the cusp of a breakthrough. But a precarious financial state could prevent the two-day event from seeing a fourth year at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO.
On November 18, the Monolith team issued a public appeal for investors to help the festival out of its current financial hole and into a new year. The statement, issued by event co-founder Josh Baker, acknowledged that the event’s future is “very grim,” but maintained a glimmer of hope for the future.
“We hope that somewhere, in our vast network of music lovers, that there may be someone with the means to pull us up by our boot straps and give us chance to continue building this amazing event,” the appeal read, in part. (Read the full message below.)
In an interview with TicketNews, Baker explained that Monolith must raise $250,000 in the next two to four weeks in order to sustain itself into the 2010 season.
As of the morning of November 19, the festival had already received more than $2,000 in fan donations, as well as several promising leads for bigger investors. “For the right person out there who has the capital, it could be a good investment,” Baker explained.
Since the two-day festival launched in September 2007, it has received much of its financial backing from sponsor Esurance. Baker credits the company with transforming Monolith from an idea to a reality. “They’re the reason the event has happened every year,” he noted. “Had it not been for them, there wouldn’t have even been a year one.”
Despite that strong backing, a difficult economic year and unforgiving elements put Monolith into its $250,000 hole after its 2009 weekend on September 12-13.
As Baker explained, unfavorable weather can kill walk-up business for an outdoor, rain-or-shine event like Monolith when tickets haven’t sold out ahead of time. Unfortunately, weather was a factor on the first day of the 2009 weekend, as a rainy Saturday dampened ticket sales on September 12. Sales were back up for the second day of Monolith, but the last-day rally wasn’t enough to break even.
“What we need to get to is a point where we’re selling out the event in advance and weather isn’t a factor,” Baker said.
If the event can make it into 2010, though, that could become a reality. Rather than trying to build a community from the ground up, the festival’s 2009 marketing campaign turned to existing communities on Facebook and Twitter. Baker said the feedback was phenomenal and translated to the box office, helping make 2009 the festival’s “best year ever in terms of sales.”
For now, though, the Monolith team is focused on the next few weeks as it works towards its $250,000 goal. If all goes well, Baker said, an announcement of 2010 dates will be just around the corner.
“We’re still planning like it’s going to happen,” he explained, “but in two to four weeks, we’ll know whether its stop or go.”
We are very saddened by the nature of this announcement but wanted to bring it to you first. We feel like we have always been very fan-centric, honest and open with you therefore it’s important to us to communicate the severity of our current situation. We have tirelessly promoted and produced the Monolith Festival for 3 years now. Over the course of those three years we have witnessed some amazing performances, met a bunch of great friends and produced a very special event that filled our voracious appetite to deliver the most amazing new artists in the world. Many of you who know us know that we do this out of sheer pleasure, undesirable love of music and a vehicle to tout our admiration for hardworking musicians.
With that said, the future of the festival is very grim. A tough economic year and an opening day of chilling rain combined to put a serious dent in our humble operation. We have continued to pursue any and all options that would allow us to recover from this year and head into 2010 with full steam. At this point in time, we have been unable to secure any options. We are communicating this message to you – the fans, the media and the artists who have supported time and time again for good reason. We hope that somewhere, in our vast network of music lovers, that there may be someone with the means to pull us up by our boot straps and give us chance to continue building this amazing event.
If you have any input or know of someone who may be interested in investing in/purchasing our small but mighty event, we would love to speak with them. We have a number of options available for interested parties/individuals. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, this is our last resort and we have explored just about every option that is available to us. To the folks who we still hold financial obligations to, we whole-heartedly appreciate your patience and willingness to work through this tough time with us.
A very special thanks to the fans who have bought tickets, told your friends, blogged and shouted from the mountaintops about their admiration and love for Monolith. We encourage you to continue this as it can only help our cause. We would also like to thank our loyal, generous sponsors who have been there for us year after year. Specific thanks and credit goes to Esurance who saw our vision for this event and remains the sole reason why this event was even possible.
Best Regards, MONOLITH Team