Midsumma has recorded its first budget surplus since 2005, announced at last week’s annual general meeting.

Over-expansion was blamed in previous years for the festival’s disappointing financial record, however management says it hopes the surplus marks a turnaround for the festival.

Festival producer Adam Lowe said the surplus would alleviate some of the strain of 2009’s festival consolidation process in reining in some of the heavy overhead costs.

-œThere were certain things we deliberately didn’t spend money on in 2009 with the view of trying to realise the surplus and in some ways those things were the right choices … but you can’t not spend money on some things for too long, otherwise those things will start to suffer, he said.

The festival recorded a $34,177 surplus, a turnaround from last year’s $47,354 deficit.

Lowe, whose company Adam Lowe Group is behind the festival, said he viewed 2010 as an equally challenging a year and would continue to run a steady ship.

-œI don’t see us doing anything in 2010 more than we did in 2009 … certainly if it’s not going to produce revenue as opposed to a cost, it won’t go ahead, he said.

-œI think the model is as lean as you can be, certainly our marketing spend for example, was one of the areas we deliberately pulled back on spending and that’s one of the areas you can’t do that for too long.

-œThere’s anecdotal feedback in 2009 that our presence wasn’t as high as it could be and that’s not unfair to say, but my answer to that was that we spent a little less on marketing in order to resurrect a cash reserve -” we’ve done that now, so that is on our hit list to improve.

The festival certainly doesn’t come without high expense, costing around $500,000 to run -” $200,000 of which is covered with in-kind sponsorship from the City of Melbourne.

Carnival Day comes at an estimated cost of $150,000 to produce, which was attended by around 11,000 revelers.

-œI don’t think the festival is at risk of not occurring, or being taken over, I think it’s really strong, Lowe said. -œIf anything [2009] was a litmus test in that there wasn’t the same push in a marketing campaign and the community still came -” it’s evidence that Midsumma is still relevant to the community.

The Midsumma board is Lisa Watts as chair, Sam Jacob deputy chair, Dean Hamood treasurer and Tim Bateson as secretary.

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