I just posted this follow up on a local message board.
Again this is not mainstream vs indie, or Beatles vs Arcade Fire, or whatever.
The issue is this:
Lets say I accept the Economic Impact argument. Lets say I accept that Paul Macca brought $8 million to Halifax.
I have a document using generally accepted practices that says that HPX bring $2 million to Halifax.
Using that logic, saying yes, this is the investment required to make these events work, based on the money spent and loaned on Paul, then HRM should give $37.5K to HPX, the Province should give $75K to HPX, loan a further $75K that only gets paid back if our sales are really high, and be prepared to pay deposits of up to say $850,000 dollars.
Now I know a lot of this was “in kind” but it HRM was willing to pony up, I could see HPX doing say Converge, Death Cab and Arcade Fire in a free show in Parade Square to open the event, for an example. I could see international tourists caravaning to HPX like they do Iceland Airwaves and SXSW, thousands of them. I could see HPX attract 30-40K people, and it could easily have the same economic impact as Paul.
Right now, HPX gets $10k from HRM and $20k from the Province.
Further, every other major event in the city is a not-for-profit. The province NEVER gives money to private business. Nor does the city. EXCEPT in this case.
So, what can we conclude? That the ONLY reason to invest this money, really, is it was Paul McCartney, and the bureaucrats and politicians like his music, so they are going to create special secret programs to invest in just this music. No strategy, no transparency, no accountability. Simply “I understand this mainstream music, and don’t understand what you do, so you don’t get any money, you cannot even apply for this money.”
And this logic applies to EVERY event, AFF, Jazzfest, everything.
I am not against Paul playing, I am against special rules for this just because politicians and bureaucrats “dig it” and are willing to bend and break all the rules we have had around tourism and arts funding for the last 30 years, because they got stars in their eyes.
EDIT – 1pm To be clear, I don’t think this hypothetical level of funding is appropriate or sustainable, the issue is the lack of transparency and the unfairness of treating one thing differently than the other. Our festivals deserve better, but by no means do I think HPX should be loaned a million bucks. I just think every event should be measured using the same yard sticks.