First Night’s Fab Financial Showing

Nothing faux about the crowds at First Night Montclair this year. From the Star Ledger

“We have the largest paid crowd of any First Night,” Joseph Hartnett, the township manager, said from a stage at Church Street Plaza to the cheers of the crowd.
Yesterday morning, Eileen Sheehan, Montclair’s senior events coordinator, and Pat Brechka, the director of recreation and cultural affairs, were running the numbers on what, by all accounts, was a watershed year for Montclair’s show- of-shows.
First Night had come close to attracting 7,000 revelers, putting Montclair within striking distance of the state’s biggest celebration in Morristown.

The Montclair Times reports that First Night attracted the likes of Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling who came to see the Fab Faux. Did you spy any other famous folk? Now that it’s time to plan next year’s events — leave your wish list of acts/entertainment in comments.

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  1. $25 ticket x 7000 people = $175,000. Take away the $145,000 estimated cost to put it on and we’re left with $30,000 profit.
    Not the best return for a business, but not too shabby for a town event (not to mention how much local businesses probably raked in that night).
    But, are we still considering Jackie Martling a celebrity? Didn’t he leave the Stern show something like 5 years ago?

  2. Not to be, well, a Curmudgeon, but …..
    Do the “expenses” include the overtime pay for the police? If we had 20 officers, and they worked let’s say another shift, would it be fair to say:
    20 X $100/hour X 8 hours?
    or $16,000 in overtime for police?
    And how about clean up costs the next day?
    And remember, the organizers are town employees and they probably don’t work for free.
    But, I think the point should be this is NOT being done to make a profit! It’s being done so that folks can have a good time, and that perhaps we’ll have visitors who will not only spend on New Year’s eve, but will come back again to spend!
    As long as it’s not putting us into the hole for $25K or more, let’s just enjoy it!

  3. Friends who went to FN in Baristaville for the first time said they were surprised by how small the crowd was, especially at the parade. The husband literally said “The articles said they get a couple THOUSAND people? Who are they kidding?” I assured him that the total numbers weren’t just about the parade, but they and others who went said they thought the night was just okay. Kids loved it, the adults, not as much. They did enjoy the Fab Faux though.
    We chose not to participate this year-there just wasn’t anything appealing enough, so we stayed home and had an open house for FN participants and non-.
    If the organizers really want input, there are at least 10 couples I can think of who would like to see some more acts that aren’t geared specifically towards kids or families. If you want to keep us in town on NYE, make the event more inclusive! Unless Baristaville is now only for parents you’re missing a big part of the population.

  4. Curm,
    I’m using the figure from an earlier B-Net piece about how muchthe Fab Faux would cost vs. how much the entire First Night would cost.
    I have no idea how they came to the total figure or what it did/didn’t contain.

  5. According to the Star Ledger article, the TOTAL FN budget was a bit above $140K, and the costs were met by a combination of corporate sponsorship and ticket sales. If half the tickets to all events sold, the town pockets $30, if all of the tickets sold the town pockets $80K, so we are probably somewhere between the two numbers and closer to the high end.
    The event also drives a lot of sales at local restaurants and stores. This seems like a real financial win for the town.

  6. A total win for the Town yet the same litany of cranks will dissect things trying to find something to bitch about. (“Hold on a second, we haven’t factored in the cost of the extra gas the police used in driving the two block parade route.”)
    Everywhere I went was absolutely mobbed. And if there are 10 couples looking for something not necessarily geared for kids there was a great Beatles cover band performing three shows that night.

  7. I’m ME – I am in complete agreement with the people of whom you wrote. My husband and I enjoy the night out, but we wish that there were more adult-centered things. We had a great time at the Latin Orchestra’s performance, and the Salsa lessons that preceded it.
    Last year, we loved the Zydeco band. I hope that the inclusion of different types of music is maintained. Ballet’s really not our cup of tea, especially on New Year’s Eve. Even though we’re not boozing it up, we’d like to get a little rowdy!

  8. First Night was absolutely fantastic. The relatively mild weather was a big help. There was something for everyone and every taste. Could they do more? Sure, but they tried to keep everything within walking distance. There are just so many venues within a couple block radius of the center of downtown. Adding more events so you could appeal to every possible taste and desire might make driving a necessity. Perhaps a few more of the “pay no taxes” churches and synagogues could step up to the plate with their large open spaces.You could add a real rock and roll band, for example, and probably sell out another venue. I heard that all three shows for the Fab Faux and Cirque Le Masque were sold out. Congratulations to Pat Brechka and Eileen Sheehan for great entertainment picks. It’s entirely irrelevant whether the town made or lost money on the event. Montlair’s total budget is about $200,000,000 a year. As far as I’m concerned, the event could be free & it would be a terrific boon for the town. Hooray for Montclair. Make the event bigger and better next year & maybe we should add another event like this in the summer. Residential home values go up and commercial landlords pay a larger share of our taxes if their retail tenants get more exposure and pay more rent.
    Events like this are great for people who live in this town.

  9. I wonder what the turnout and profit (or loss) would have been if we had had today’s weather instead of the unseasonably (even for global warming) mild spell we lucked into.
    Though the event was fun and, I’m happy to admit with regard to the Faux, the organizers are obviously better judges of what people want to hear than I.

  10. Dear Mets2008,
    My point was that it shouldn’t be looked upon as a financial gain or loss.
    My point was that if one REALLY wanted to include all costs it wasn’t going to be a “windfall.”
    My point was no need to analyze, just to have a good time.
    So stop criticizing.
    And, by the way, try telling that “an extra $16K” here or there doesn’t mean anything to some of the folks in this town, like the several dozen that have appeared at recent council meetings asking for help in making their tax payments.

  11. Save your breath, curm. If we were to answer each one of these self-appointed, self-righteous if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say-don’t -say-anything judges of what’s appropriate in this space we’d be here all day.

  12. I agree with downtown believer, let’s have an event like this in the summer. August is a no holiday month, why not then? It would be a great way to keep the summer “up” after the fourth of July!
    Bring back the Fab Faux in August, I couldn’t make this show!

  13. “If we were to answer each one of these self-appointed, self-righteous if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say-don’t -say-anything judges of what’s appropriate in this space we’d be here all day.”
    Uh, Walllerro . . . you are here all day, dude. All day. Every day.

  14. Fab Faux set list (not necessarily in correct song order:
    Set 1-
    Back in the USSR
    Dear Prudence
    Happy Just to Dance With You
    I’m Only Sleeping
    I’m Looking Through You
    Hold Me Tight
    Ticket to Ride
    Old Brown Shoe
    Set 2-
    I Feel Fine
    It Won’t Be Long
    Get Back
    I Call Your Name
    You Can’t Do That
    Nowhere Man
    I’m a Loser
    No Reply
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    I Am the Walrus
    Set 3(Sorry, only a partial list)
    Come Together
    We Can Work It Out
    Hey Bulldog
    Drive My Car
    Tomorrow Never Knows (Ending the show)

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