On Good Friday, Easterfest Event Director David Schenk was hopeful about attendance and said ticket sales were up by 20 percent from 2014. But bad weather forecasts and rain meant attendance took a hit over the weekend.
In a Facebook announcement on Easter Sunday, the Easterfest board said after failing to meet budget in 2014, another year of poor ticket sales has spelled uncertainty for the future of the festival.
“We are as committed as ever to seeing Easterfest return to Toowoomba, but we are also placed in a position where we must continue to ask God to reveal what He has in store for this event,” the board said in their post.
Dave said the daily gate sales were essential to meeting the budget.
“There’s never been a year we haven’t needed gate sales – that didn’t happen this year again.
“After a tough one last year and another tough one this year, with integrity we haven’t been able to put tickets on sale for next year,” Dave said. “God’s just always kept us on our knees, I think that’s where He wants us, I think He knows how easily we could get cocky…we don’t have this, it’s in God’s hands.”
Easterfest sound engineer Greg Glanville has been working at the festival since it began 17 years ago and said there was a lot to consider moving forward.
“There has to be a lot of soul-searching, a lot of prayer,” Greg said.
But despite the difficult news there is still hope for future festivals.
Dave said they have received a lot of support from Easterfesters after the announcement on Easter Sunday.
“We were overwhelmed…genuinely overwhelmed by expressions of support and prayer and people asking how they can help,” he said.
Dave said that taking away the mud and ticket sales, Easterfest 2015 was one of the best to date. The theme for 2015 was ‘Love Changes Everything’ and Dave said it had really shone through.
“We’ve already got countless stories of how people encountered God’s love,” he said.
Dave said that unlike other music events across Australia, there was something very different happening at the heart of Easterfest.
“God’s really called us to be about people, because God doesn’t love Easterfest, I don’t think God even cares about Easterfest at all, to be honest, the entity, but God cares about people.”
“He cares about my crew, He cares about the people who come. Jesus didn’t die for Easterfest, He died for me, and more each person,” he said.
Dave said there was an excellent vibe over the weekend and the music was great. The event featured artists including Steve Taylor & the Perfect Foil, Group1Crew and Switchfoot on Saturday night.
“Saturday night at mainstage was probably one of the best line-ups in the history of the festival,” Dave said.
But he said it was frustrating that despite the brilliant line-up more people weren’t able to attend and he stopped looking at ticket sales very early in the weekend.
“The truth is at that point, all that mattered was showing the people who did come the best weekend of their lives,” he said.
In the Easter Sunday announcement the Easterfest board thanked everyone who had volunteered and participated in Easterfest over the past 17 years.
“We would also like to thank all of you for coming to this festival, and supporting us through this journey. For us you have become like a family that comes together each year for a very special weekend,” the statement said.
“This event belongs to us all, it started as a community event, and we would like to invite you, the Easterfest family to partner with us as we navigate the future.”