Festival’s city contributions top $3M
Ten-year revenue-sharing agreement with the Ravinia Festival is reaping financial benefits for the city of Highland Park. | Submitted photo
Updated: January 9, 2013 1:01PM
HIGHLAND PARK — The City of Highland Park has reeled in more than $3 million to date from a four-year-old, revenue-sharing agreement with the Ravinia Festival.
The non-for-profit Ravinia Festival donates 5 percent of its annual gross ticket revenue to the city to use as needed. For the most recent year, Ravinia contributed $798,818, up from $780,655 in 2011, $758,000 in 2010 and $710,000 in 2009. The 10-year agreement runs through 2018.
The festival revenue represents a true gain for the city, because the festival also pays for its use of local police to patrol and protect the grounds and manage traffic on concert nights. According to Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, the supplemental income paid to police officers is perquisite that helps the city of Highland Park attract top-notch police personnel.
City officials also point to the festival’s ripple effect on local businesses.
“Ravinia’s guests patronize our local businesses, and they pay sales tax on food and souvenirs they purchase at the festival itself,” said the mayor.
A study conducted by an independent research firm determined that concert-goers spend an average of $60 to $90 in the neighborhoods near the festival with each visit. The Highland Park City Council has informed residents that for every dollar a visitor spends at the festival, he or she spends $7 more in the community.
“Ravinia Festival is proud of being a first-class corporate citizen of the city of Highland Park. Our roots and our futures are deeply entangled to mutual benefit,” said Welz Kauffman, president and chief executive officer of the Ravinia Festival.
Before the city of Highland Park entered into the agreement, the festival contributed more than $2.7 million over 13 years to various not-for-profit youth, education and arts agencies through YEA! Highland Park. The festival also provided marketing and staff resources to help YEA! with its annual fundraising benefit.
Since the revenue-sharing arrangement has been in place, the city has provided YEA! with a portion of its annual income from the festival. Ravinia also gives YEA! some free tickets for its annual fundraiser.