Festivals and events are among the most successful tools available to communities, cities, states, regions, and countries to increase tourism, create powerful and memorable branding and imaging opportunities, encourage positive media coverage, effect economic impact, and enhance the quality of life for those who live there.
The economic impact of the 2011 On the Waterfront Festival was measured through four main components: a calculated attendance estimate, a survey of attendees to measure expenditures of locals and non-locals, an economic model to convert expenses to economic impact, and an additional model to convert the event’s operational expenses to impact. These figures represent combined direct, indirect, and induced impacts of the event. Direct impact refers to spending on “front-line” businesses in Rockford while indirect impact results from spending on suppliers to these businesses. Induced impact is generated by additional employment resulting from the direct and indirect spending.
The total economic impact, including local expenditures, of the 2011 On the Waterfront Festival was $10,608,821. This additional economic activity would not have occurred in Rockford if the On the Waterfront Festival did not take place.
The economic impact was generated by three main sources, tourism-related impact, local-related impact, and impact resulting from operational spending related to the event.
Within the $10.6 million of economic activity generated by the event, $2.7 million was spent on wages and salaries of workers in Rockford and the surrounding area.
The $10.6 million of economic activity resulted in $736,561 in taxes collected for state and local governments. $552,212 was collected for the state of Illinois and $184,349 was collected for the city of Rockford.
Overall, $ 6.2 million of economic impact resulted from tourism spending by non-locals attending the event. This represented approximately 59.2% of the festival’s economic impact.
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On the Waterfront, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) event production corporation that produces Illinois’ largest music festival, On the Waterfront . Awarded the prestigious 2002 Gold Grand Pinnacle Award by the International Festivals and Events Association for excellence in event promotion, the Festival is held annually over Labor Day weekend and attracts over 300,000 people to the streets of the downtown River District in Rockford, Illinois. Each year, On the Waterfront helps over 100 local not-for-profit organizations raise funds through the festival. Since 1986, On the Waterfront, Inc. has helped area organizations raise over $10.1 million. In addition to the festival, On the Waterfront, Inc. also produces Groove Walk, an annual spring and fall music walk throughout downtown Rockford and the Rockford City Market.