The Fremantle community is often divided on events on the Esplanade when commercial organisers ask for hire fees of the reserve to be waived, so no doubt the application to hold the POPCORN X Winter Festival there from June 15 to July 24 could be controversial.
Hire fees for the 40 days would be $ 66,200 but the event organisers have asked for that to be waived as the event would not be financially viable according to them. The officer recommends Council approves this although he states that the claim that Popcorn X would not be viable when full fees are charged can’t be verified without the City having access to the financial data of the company.
The company expects some 100,000 visitors to the ice rink and will charge adults $ 25 and children $ 15, so if we average that they would turn over $ 2 million from ticket sales plus additional income from selling food and alcohol.
The officer assumes in his recommendation that the visitors will spend on average another $ 10 each on things like parking fees, drinks, etc and that would inject $ 1 million into the local economy.
Turf restoration fees of $ 15,000 would still be charged.
Popcorn X was here two years ago and only 10% of the reserve hire fees were waived and they presumably want to come back to Fremantle because it was financially lucrative for them then. They suddenly cancelled last year because they could not find a sponsor, and are still searching for one for this year. I assume a sponsorship deal would inject cash into the event and increase profits for the organisers. It is their intention to make the Winter Festival a regular event in Fremantle.
I loved the ice rink and went there several times to take photos, but it is not a winter festival. I believe it could and should grow with the City of Fremantle organising music and market events there during the period the ice rink is there.
The community is skeptical about the assumption that ticketed events inject millions of dollars into the Freo economy when the only tangible evidence are large profits for the organisers and the rest is really only guess work and hope. In this case the event organisers sell food, beverages and alcohol so there is little need for visitors to go elsewhere.
Fremantle Council will decide on Wednesday evening if the $ 66,200.00 hire fees for the Esplanade Reserve will be waived. I suggest half of that would be very generous.