A new agreement with the National Gallery of Canada was one of the factors that helped push ticketing revenue for the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival up 20 per cent year over year in 2013, its organizers say.
Music lovers take in this year's edition of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.
The full crowds and increased revenue were only a part of what excited organizers about the two-week event, which ended in August.
There also was a vibe of happiness and success in all the performances that contributed to the atmosphere, said Glenn Hodgins, executive director of the group that runs the annual festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Society.
“I’ve been in the job six years, and I have to say humbly, it was the best Chamberfest this year,” Mr. Hodgins said. “Something was special.”
Final attendance numbers are not yet in for the festival, which ran from July 25 to Aug. 8. But the main venue at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church was either close to or at a capacity of about 1,100 people just about every time, Hodgins said.
A new agreement with the National Gallery also saw Chamberfest tickets being promoted at the gallery’s box office.
Chamberfest used the gallery’s auditorium and grounds for some events in exchange for offering extensive sponsor recognition of the gallery in the festival’s materials.
“Because they’re such a well-known and desirable tourism destination, by being there it gave a lot of prominence to, primarily, our daytime, afternoon concerts,” Mr. Hodgins said.
There were more than 350 artists across 100-plus performances. Perhaps one of the most unique took place entirely in pitch black, with volunteers stationed near the exit signs ready to whip off the covers at a moment’s notice if required.
Called In the Dark, the Jack Quartet performance of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3 was described as a “magical and formative experience” from the audience members Mr. Hodgins talked to. (He was unable to attend himself due to a scheduling conflict.)
Now in its 20th year of operations, Chamberfest also saw advertising changes in the past season. The organization beefed up its social media presence, advertising heavily on Twitter and Facebook long before ticket sales opened, and redesigned its website.
Three main sources, each of which provide roughly the same amount each, contribute to Chamberfest’s funds: public funding and grants, earned revenue (meaning ticket sales and merchandise) and sponsorships through corporations and individuals.
Earned revenue was up this year, with the other two categories remaining steady. All major sponsors are currently in the middle of multi-year funding cycles, Mr. Hodgins added.
About 30 per cent of its attendees are listed as coming from areas farther than 40 kilometers away from the city, although the festival does not keep close track of the breakdown of national and international visitors.
Besides blanket local advertising, Chamberfest has an agreement with the PBS station in New York to promote the music festival in the northeastern United States. Ottawa Tourism also advertises for it and several other festivals in the state.