Meyer Event Production (working title)

Project Overview

New Woodstock resident seeking funding to launch a local, for-profit, event production business that will produce a series of live entertainment events in underutilized spaces primarily within walking distance of downtown

Grant Request

$25,000

Total Project Budget

$35,000

Applicant Information

Name of Applicant / Organization / Business

Jeff Meyer

Mailing Address

18 Mountain Avenue

Name of Project Coordinator

Jeff Meyer

Contact's Email Address

Meyer Event Productions Application Q&A

Telephone

5185698150

Organization's Website URL

TBD

EIN

TBD

Applicatant / Organizational Description

I am requesting these funds to help launch a local, for-profit, event production business that will produce a series of live entertainment events. The organization’s mission is to provide fun and exciting live entertainment events in the Village of Woodstock and surrounding area that expand upon (but do not compete with) the offerings of local nonprofit organizations while taking advantage of underutilized spaces (e.g., the backyard of the Woodstock History Center, The Little Theater, Norman Williams Public Library, Billings Farm and Museum, etc.). Forms of entertainment include but are not limited to live music, comedy, talks/lectures and dance.

If you are applying on behalf of an organization, what is your total organizational budget?

Project Information

Detailed Project Description

While my family and I are regulars at events like Feast & Field (Thursdays, Barnard), Music on the Hill (Wednesdays, South Pomfret, ArtisTree) and Music by the River (Fridays, East End Park, Pentangle), we wish there were more arts and entertainment offerings within walking distance of downtown particularly on Saturdays when demand from locals and tourists is highest. Given my background, I am planning to start an event production business that fills this void.

Many entertainment venues and performing arts organizations struggle financially because of the significant expense of maintaining a venue. Our business model is unique in that we will not own a physical space but rather partner with existing local organizations, particularly non-profit organizations who already own beautiful spaces and would welcome additional revenue and marketing. In fact, when we produce events, the mission of our partner organizations will be woven into our event (e.g., if we host a concert behind the Woodstock History Center, we may ask them to open the doors to our joint patrons and share some fun facts about Woodstock during the performance).

In our first year of operation, we plan to host events monthly and try various event types to see what works best. These event types would include live music (headlining/touring original artist, acoustic cover artist, local artist showcase, children’s artist, Christmas show, Chamber / Classical soloist), comedy (headliner or showcase), edu-tainment (professor lecture or speaker), networking event and panel (e.g., local business leaders, young professionals, remote workers, etc.) and other (e.g., beer/wine tasting, food tasting w/ participating local restaurants, ChowderFest, etc.).

Project Timeline

In my first year in operation, I plan to host a minimum of 12 events starting in May, 2022 on a roughly monthly basis. 50-60% of these events will be held outdoors between May and October while 40-50% of them will be held indoors between November and April. Specific dates will be based on venue availability as well as the existing local events calendar. Most events will take place on Saturdays. I can’t emphasize enough that I will make every effort to avoid calendar competition with local nonprofit arts organizations as well as traditional local annual events like Wassail Weekend and the like. After all, my family and I want to be patrons of those events!

To achieve my goal of 100+ attendees per event, I will:
1. Develop partnerships with 3-5 local organizations with suitable event spaces
2. Curate a compelling lineup of events
3. Secure synergistic sponsors (e.g., local businesses) and event partners (e.g., food vendors, local artists and artisans)
4. Advertise events through targeted local channels (e.g., listserv, partner organizations’ email lists, social media, etc.)

My goal by the end of the first year is to have learned enough about local audience preferences to double the number of events the following year.

Project Champion

I, Jeff Meyer, am championing this project! I am a relatively new but active community member. My wife and I were married here in 2013 and relocated our young family from Boston to Woodstock (Mountain Avenue) last year because it’s an idyllic place to raise a family with a great school system. We have a 2-year-old son and a daughter on the way (by the time you read this, she’ll probably be here!). We work remotely for Boston-based employers and love living in the Village. We plan to be here for decades as involved community members.

My pre-business school background is in arts administration, event production, and sponsorship sales for Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Boston Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Hall, Boston Pops and Tanglewood). I now work in business development for a management consulting firm. Arts and entertainment is a passion of mine so I’m trying to combine my passion and business acumen to create something of real value to the residents and visitors of Woodstock.

 

Project Budget Narrative

The grant money will be used to cover event-associated expenses like venue rentals, artist fees and A/V equipment but also basic business start-up costs like website development, liability insurance and paperwork filing. The grant funds will allow me to start this project right away and put my best foot forward, as opposed to having to wait (potentially years) until I have the appropriate capital saved.

Project Budget - Itemized

Income Category

Total

Applicant

EDC

Other

In-Kind

Ticket sales per event (X12)

3000

Sponsorship per event (X12)

500

Expense Category

Total

Applicant

EDC

Other

In-Kind

Start-up expenses (website, liability insurance, A/V equipment, etc.)

5000

5000

Per event expenses (artist fee and rental), X12

2500

833

1667

What will success look like?

If you build it, they will come! Success will look like an average of 100+ people attending each of the ~12 events over the course of the first year. These small wins, accumulated over time will provide enough momentum to successfully launch the business all while providing actionable data and insights about event attendance (i.e., what do people want more of?) that will help us further refine the programming to increase the number of events as well as per event attendance. Since attendance is easily measurable, so is our success.

Community support for this project

I’ve talked to dozens of friends and neighbors about this concept, ranging from families to empty-nesters, from tourists to day-trippers, from new residents to longtime residents, from local business owners to remote workers. There is wide consensus that more arts and entertainment within the Village of Woodstock would add some much needed vibrancy to our town.

Collaboration with and among local nonprofit and for-profit organizations is a central component of our mission, as is creating a more cohesive arts, cultural and business community for the benefit of locals and tourists.

Therefore, it’s worth noting that I’ve spoken to Matthew Powers, Executive Director of Woodstock History Center, who has seen this application, is supportive of this project and willing to partner with me as an outdoor venue host. I’ve also inquired about leasing The Little Theater as a potential indoor space, which I believe is an ideal location that fits within my budget.

In addition, I have spoken to Alita Wilson, Executive Director of Pentangle Arts about this project and shared this application with her. She is also supportive of the concept and even suggested ways that we could partner together (e.g., co-hosting events, providing ticketing services, etc.). At a minimum, I intend to maintain an open line of communication with Alita (she is a wealth of local knowledge and experience) as we get off the ground but I love the idea of our organizations working together to bring great entertainment to the Village. She has even offered to write a letter of support to the EDC if helpful to my application.

Community support for this project

Without this grant money, the launch of this business would likely be delayed for a few years but with this grant money, we could launch the business in May of this year. As previously stated, after ~1 year of operation, I project the business will be self-sustaining and able to produce at least double the number events in Year 2.

By approving this grant request, the EDC would be:
1. Supporting the launch of a local business whose young founder has set down roots in Woodstock
2. Supporting a business that strives to provide affordable and diverse entertainment to all residents and visitors
3. Supporting a business that benefits other local businesses, particularly downtown restaurants, food/beverage vendors, as well as artists and artisans
4. Investing in an initiative that will add an element of artistic and cultural vibrancy to our charming downtown

Thank you for your consideration. I hope the answers to the EDC’s questions posed attached will fill in any remaining gaps:

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Meyer Event Productions Application Q&A

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