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Concert rakes in thousands for Ft. Worden

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Back-to-back nights turned out thousands of concertgoers to Fort Worden's McCurdy Pavilion, bringing in a considerable amount for the host.

During a Fort Worden Public Development Authority meeting, it was reported the double-concert series, which welcomed indie-rock band Modest Mouse to the area by Seattle Theater Group on Aug. 24 and 25, was a success, not just in attendance, but in the amount made from beverage sales.

Fort Worden Chief Financial Officer Diane Moody reported food and beverage proceeds from Littlefield Green, which is where the concert was held, amounted to $16,000 and $30,000, for the first and second nights respectively. Taps at the Guardhouse saw the “largest ever” in purchased drinks, Moody said, coming out to $8,700 cumulatively, while Canteen and Revelry had “good performances.” Overall, revenue was $55,000 and $74,000, for each respective night.

“In two nights, we made 20 to 25 percent of the full Centrum season,” PDA Chairman Norm Tonina said.

Executive Director Dave Robison ran down all the services STG paid full price to produce for the concerts, including parking services, security, production, equipment rentals.

“They went above and beyond to include local vendors … in everything,” Robison said.

King County attendees matched both attendee numbers from Jefferson and Clallam counties together, while there was a “strong presence from Kitsap,” Robison said.

“It was shocking to see how far people came,” he added, listing locations such as Montana, Alaska, California and Oregon.

“Aside from the noise, there was no negative impact,” Robison said, adding the concert was held to the same standard as the Woodland Park Zoo and Marymoor Park in Redmond.

Days after the concert, there was just one complaint from the public about the noise.

The board spoke about how the missions of Fort Worden and STG correlate.

Robison said STG's mission is to put on arts, culture and educational programs in historic venues, such as The Paramount and The Moore theaters.

“Their profits, much like ours, are put into maintaining those historic facilities,” Robison said. “Our mission is much more broad than lifelong learning.”

He said the mission of the Fort Worden PDA also comes down to being financially sustainable, making sure the facility is continually creating a reputation as a gathering place for the community.

In contrast to the success of the Modest Mouse event, the Centrum Blues and Jazz weekends in the clubs, which opened up at various venues during two weekends in July and August, saw a loss of about $10,000 in labor. Moody said the set up was what caused the greatest deficit, while liquor sales amounted to $6,000 for both weekends. For the Centrum weekends, there were 400 bands sold while there were 500 sold for the Blues weekend.

Fort Worden staff will evaluate how to go about conducting these events next year, Robison said, suggesting there would be some help from Centrum to help offset the costs. Centrum was charged for the space, but not for the set up of each club, Moody explained.

“The amount of labor, planning, set-up and tear down is where the cost came in,” Moody said. There were five clubs opened to whoever purchased an access band for all three nights, from Thursday through Saturday, and each set up bars with appetizers, beer, wine and cocktails.

Though a loss financially for Fort Worden, the board members and staff were happy with the result of the first joint effort between the organization and Centrum. Moody said it was important to keep the event on the Fort Worden campus to minimize any risk from going back and forth to downtown Port Townsend, especially for the youth who would attend and make up a majority of workshop attendees.

Robison added these events were more about the music than the food and beverages, and it was a way for the public to see the grounds.

“What it did do is bring people here,” Moody explained.

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