VENTURA : Music Festival Is a Downtown Success

Organizers of the first Ventura Chamber Music Festival declared last month's five-day concert series a resounding success that pumped about $1 million into the downtown economy and broke even on its first try.

Presenting a wrap-up of the event before the Ventura City Council on Monday night, festival organizers said that more than one-third of the 725 ticket holders came from outside Ventura County.

"There is a reason to come to downtown Ventura, and it is the Ventura Chamber Music Festival," volunteer organizer Virginia Mendoza O'Neal told the council.

The festival consisted of more than a dozen classical concerts at numerous venues around the city from May 17-21. Organizers said about half of the concerts sold out and the rest were 80% booked.

Downtown merchants reported sales increases of between 20% and 30% during the event, organizers said. The series cost about $70,000 to produce and promote, and the events generated about $69,000 in ticket sales, concert officials said.

Music festival organizers, who vowed to sponsor an even larger concert series next spring, estimated the festival brought in nearly $1 million in revenue for city businesses.

"We didn't start small, we started large and we were very successful," Councilman Gregory L. Carson said. "This type of activity means economic development for our city."

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