Mayor Announces Dramatic Decline in Freakfest Costs
Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 9:49am
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced a dramatic reduction in the City's cost for Freakfest in 2009. The city's net cost for the annual event is down 68% from 2008 and 88% from the event's first year in 2006. The city's net cost for 2009 dropped to $41,667.
"Each year, we've made tremendous progress on transforming what was once a black eye for the city into a safe and fun event for all our residents. I'm pleased that that work is paying off in not only keeping the event safe and fun, but also in dramatically reducing the city's cost," Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said.
In 2006, the mayor spearheaded changes to the annual Halloween event to confront property damage, public safety concerns and public cost. Frank Productions signed on as the event's promoter in 2007.
"We wanted to be part of this event because we live and work right here in the city and we knew the event could be both safe and fun," said Larry Frank of Frank Productions. "Thanks to the hard work from everyone involved, we have an extraordinary event that the community can be proud to host."
As Freakfest continues to be a safe, fun, concert-style event, public costs have steadily decreased. The reduced costs are attributable to a decrease in event staffing costs, continual streamlining of procedures and steadily increasing revenues. Since the event began in 2006, City revenues have increased 229% or about $120,000 during that time.
"We must continue to be vigilant in reviewing all that goes into keeping Freakfest a safe event, always looking for opportunities to improve the handling of the event," said Chief Noble Wray. "Our success has - and will continue to - come from a total team effort with city and state agencies working in concert with the event promoter and community."
Since the first Freakfest in 2006, attendance numbers have steadily increased while arrest numbers have dropped. In 2004, 578 arrests were made, compared to 233 arrests in a crowd of 35,000 during the first Freakfest. In 2009, a crowd of 44,000 people enjoyed the event and only 52 arrests were made.
"I want to thank Frank Productions, who stepped up to work on this event when no one else would. They have played a major role in its success," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "I also want to thank the city agencies - especially the Madison Police Department, downtown business owners and students that have worked to make Freakfest an event that I am proud to have in Madison."
- Joel Plant, (608) 266-4611