The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) is aiming to at least break even with the 2016 Frosh Music Festival after losing nearly $80,000 on the event last year.
Despite controversy in the past surrounding the sources of Frosh’s financing – which included a dispute with University 1 Student Council surrounding a $40,000 sponsorship contract – and losing $76,000 in 2015, vice president external Wilfred Sam-King said he is confident this year’s event will turn a profit.
While UMSU will cover the logistical costs estimated around $40,000, Winnipeg promoter Diyobo will pick up the tab for acquiring headlining artists in exchange for 80 per cent of Frosh’s profits.
“We have already acquired close to $40,000 in sponsorships,” said Sam-King in an email. “As of now, we are estimating that we will not need to use any funds from the already approved upon budget line for orientation.”
UMSU’s orientation budget set aside $27,500 to support the event.
Diyobo will be on the hook if the festival incurs a deficit.
The finances surrounding the school-year kick-off event have caused the students’ union problems since it began in 2013.
The inaugural edition ran $150,000 over budget resulting from weak ticket sales and a scheduling conflict with the festival’s headliner, Childish Gambino, that stretched the event into a second consecutive day.
The following year, the festival recorded a modest profit just over $3,300. However, $25,000 was allocated to Frosh from UMSU’s orientation budget to help cover expenses.
The current UMSU executive considered scrapping this year’s Frosh Music Fest altogether when it started planning the 2016 version of the event.
However, after negotiations with Diyobo landed an agreement to offload much of the risk, UMSU ultimately decided to go ahead with the festival.
“The decision was very tough and, honestly, there were days when we thought ‘Frosh isn’t happening,’” said UMSU president Tanjit Nagra.
“It just didn’t make sense for us to spend that much money on a concert […] but when they [Diyobo] expressed interest in taking on the financial burden that we did not want the organization to take […] we decided to work with them.”
In a separate email, Nagra said the students’ union is expecting to return the festival to profitability.
“For the first time in years, we are projecting an actual profitable Frosh Music Festival and I’m so proud to be a part of the executive team that made it happen.”
The festival will take place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Max Bell Centre.
This year’s festival is primarily sponsored by MTS and will feature American DJ Deorro, Dutch/Moroccan DJ R3hab, and American electro-dance group Cash Cash as its headliners.
Early bird student tickets for Frosh are still available for $48 at Answers with valid student ID and early bird general tickets are available for $58 online.
Tickets for MTS Frosh Fest are available at Answers on the first floor of University Centre as well as online at diyobo.com.