Attorney Robby Collins Reports the 2015 Azalea Festival Numbers


Attorney Robby Collins Reports the 2015 Azalea Festival Numbers


Azalea Festival Official: Bigger Numbers Reflect Better Economy

The skies may have been mostly overcast during this month’s Azalea Festival, but the economic climate was definitely sunny, said the festival’s president-elect Robby Collins Tuesday.

“We estimate that attendance was about 300,000, combined, for all the events,” Collins said, adding that there were at least 20 public festival events, including the concerts, school visits, coin show, boxing matches, street fair and parade. “We did have approximately 10,000 people at each of the concerts, Thursday and Friday.”

Citing an economic stimulus study conducted in 2011 by faculty members and students from University of North Carolina Wilmington that determined the festival’s annual impact at $50,000, Collins said that festival officials believe that number has risen 20 percent to about $60,000.

“That’s a conservative estimate,” he said, explaining that officials’ estimate is based on ticket sales and other indicators of attendance. Over the past four years since the study was done, attendance has almost doubled. The 2011 study estimated that 160,000 people participated in one or more festival events that year.

One major factor contributing to this growth is the festival’s decision to move the concert venue from UNCW’s Trask Auditorium, which seats 3,000, to downtown, where capacity is 10,000, Collins said, noting that attendance at both concerts this year neared maximum capacity.

In another indication of growth and a brighter economy, the festival this year secured 233 patron-level sponsorships, the most “by far” that have ever been sold, according to Collins.

“Our goal in the past has always been 200 patron sponsorships, which cost $1,000 and are our entry-level sponsorship. This year we decided to shoot for 250, and we’re pleased we got 233,” he said.

The festival boxing tournament moved from Williston Middle School to Cape Fear Community College’s Schwartz Center this year and saw its highest level of participation. About 200 individuals and teams, representing 40 states and five countries, vied for belts this year, according to Collins.

Bigger numbers are good, but sponsor feedback is also very important in determining the festival’s success. Collins cited one example of very good news from this year’s event.

“One major sponsor reported breaking a national record for activations and product inquiries,” he said.


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