Town accepts name, approves funding
There will be a second year of Weddstock, with $20,000 in funding provided by the town of Weddington. During their Monday, June 13 meeting, the Weddington town council voted to include funding for the festival in their budget and agreed to keep the festival’s name.
In previous meetings, council members Werner Thomisser and Jerry McKee had requested the name be changed from Weddstock, saying people would associate it with Woodstock. Both had suggested the event be named Weddington Festival or WeddFest, so that people would associate it more closely with the town. Fellow council member Robert Gilmartin, who serves as liaison to the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee, said he didn’t understand what the problem was.
“I thought (Weddstock) was a neat name,” Gilmartin said. “I don’t understand the negative connotations. Anyone who would get in trouble (at the event) won’t know what Woodstock is.”
Committee member Barbara Harrison echoed Gilmartin’s comments, saying a change would be too confusing.
“To change (the name) this year would confuse people,” Harrison said. “It’s branded now.”
The event started last year as a way to bring the community together, but struggled out of the gate with funding issues. This year, it’s being pared down from five days to one, running from 6 a.m to midnight on Aug. 20.
The funding issues last year came as proposed sponsors fell through and Weddstock organizers overestimated the revenues the event would produce. The event brought in a higher attendance rate than expected, especially with kids, with a combined 4,000 people attending the five Fridays.
All total, each of the 4,000 people spent an estimated $1.64 per week on average. On average, it cost an estimated $2.75 from each of Weddington’s 11,420 taxpayers to hold the events. Organizers thought they’d sell $1,500 in beer and wine each week, but average sales only reached $800 per week.
The organizing committee expected to cover 25 percent of the costs with cash donations from visitors or product sales. The committee expected to cover the remaining 75 percent with in-kind services, such as volunteer labor or free radio spots. The town council contributed $11,000.
This year, the council unanimously approved a donation not to exceed $20,000. If the event collects enough sponsors to make a profit, the town will be paid back. After expenses are paid, the first $7500 in profit from sponsorships will go to the charity Kids First. After that, 25 cents of every dollar will go to the town, with the other 75 cents going to Kids First. Additionally, all profit made from wine and beer sales and other collections from the event will go to Kids First.
All total, the Parks and Recreation committee estimates it will cost $37,500 to run the one day event, to be held August 20 at Mayor Nancy Anderson’s Hunter Farms property.