November 22, 2013
2013 was the best Vintage Band Festival yet. Bands from Sweden, Germany, Austria, Texas, Chicago, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota converged on Northfield Minnesota for 5 days of intense brass wind music. Artistic director Paul Niemisto designed the festival to showcase vintage brass music, and to highlight the best of contemporary brass music from New Orleans jazz to Chicago shout bands to professional European brass ensembles. Bringing all these together in one place makes the Vintage Band Festival unique in North America.
VBF 2013 was exponentially larger than either of the previous festivals. 35 bands provided a combined total of 134 unique musical experiences. In 2010, concerts were staged in seven communities beyond Northfield. For 2013 we added six more towns to make a total of 13: Faribault, New Ulm, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Chatfield, New Prague, Minneapolis, Scandia, St. Peter, Owatonna, Nerstrand, Montgomery and Kasota.
Staffing for VBF 2013 followed a similar format to the previous two festivals, though more people were required due to the increase in the number of band, communities and events. A platoon of volunteers run the festival, ably coordinated this year by our omni-competent St. Olaf College interns Mitch Evett and Ramsey Walker. The VBF website was completely redesigned to give concert-goers far more information. The online event schedule was transformed into an interactive experience complete with a biography of each band, a photo of the band and a Google map showing directions to the concert location. An additional Google map displayed all of the concert locations and directions to each one. Free audio samplers of most of the bands were made available using the SoundCloud service.
FESTIVAL GROWTH 2006-2013
Budget Bands Events Attendance Communities
2006 $38,000 20 36 9,000 2
2010 $100,000 25 91 12,000 8
2013 $170,000 35 134 15,000 14
What’s Next for the Vintage Band Festival
Artistic growth has exceeded our administrative infrastructure and fundraising ability, which needs to grow to match our artistic reach. We need to recruit board members with specific skills, add to our administrative structure, and pay off about $50,000 in accumulated debt from the three Vintage Band Festivals. We feel we are at a not-unexpected place for a young festival. We believe we are at a not-unexpected place in our organizational life. We have established a successful festival unique in North America, and now need to build additional organizational infrastructure to support it. We believe the $170,000 we spent this year is a reasonable budget to put on a festival of this caliber, and we also believe we can raise that level of support for each festival going forward, given the dedicated audience we have built.
From now through 2014 we expect to
- Recruit additional board members with specific skills in finance, administration, and fundraising.
- Improve our communication with and outreach to friends and donors.
- Establish an annual giving club – our very own “Band-aid” to support VBF in planning as well as in festival years.
- Extinguish the approximately $50,000 in debt we have accumulated.
By 2015 and 2016 we expect to
- Hire our first part time administrator to manage preparations for the festival.
- Program and present the 4th, and best yet, Vintage Band Festival 2016.
What the Vintage Band Festival Needs from Our Friends
- Board members with specific skills in finance, administration, and fundraising. If you would like to nominate someone or volunteer, please let us know.
- Friends who will consider holding part of our accumulated deficit as no-interest loans for a period of two years while we negotiate payments and increase our fundraising capacity.
- Dedicated supporters who will pledge an annual gift to the Vintage Band Festival so we have adequate planning funds in the off years. We especially appreciate annual gifts of $100, $500, or even $1,000 which can help us build a reliable income.
- Gifts of any amount now so we can build up an advance reserve fund for the 2016 Vintage Band Festival.
Thank you for your past support of the Vintage Band Festival. You, our friends and audience, are a vital part of the Vintage Band Festival experience.
Paul Niemisto, Artistic Director
Jan Stevens, President of the Board of Directors