Block Party 2017 breaks even following last year’s $200,000 deficit

Following a $200,000 deficit in 2016, Block Party broke even this year and even ended on a small profit of less than $1,000, according to AMS VP Finance Alim Lakhiyalov. 

Asad Ali, the AMS’s current programming and events manager, attributed last year’s massive deficit mainly to poor management and the unforeseen challenges of hosting Block Party at Thunderbird Stadium. These led to delays and added extra costs like the $100,000 floor needed to protect the Stadium’s turf.

This year, the AMS started to work on the event planning earlier and made changes to minimize costs — decisions that greatly contributed to making Block Party a success, according to Lakhiyalov.

For instance, Block Party was moved to University Commons. It subsequently sold out and filled the venue to 100 per cent of its 6,500 person capacity. 

“Finding a location for Block Party is always so hard because it’s such a massive event,” said Ali, while clarifying that the aim is still to grow Block Party every year. However, until a larger affordable venue can be found, it will remain at University Commons. 

“If we move back to Thunderbird stadium … the final tier will have to be about $60 or $70,” he said, noting that University Commons will allow ticket prices to be kept lower for Block Party 2018. “We’re just trying to go with the same format [as this year] so $20 to $40 or $20 to $50 is the range we’re looking at, but of course it’s subject to change.

“Our goal is to make sure students have a good experience, which includes pricing as well.”

In the spirit of student affordability, the AMS is also not opposed to going into a small deficit.

“We are okay with running a deficit, but you know a $200,000 deficit isn’t good for the society, so even if we run it on a deficit we want to make sure, it’s a deficit the society can handle,” said Ali. 

For next year’s Block Party, the 2018 Budget plans for an approximately $25,000 deficit. According to Lakhiyalov, this is largely the result of increased spending on artists and talent to engage students.

At the same time, Ali reassured that the AMS will remain mindful of costs, while “trying to keep up with the market and student expectations.”

Nevertheless, he believes that Block Party is a discount.

“The lineup we got for Block Party this year, if you were to buy tickets for that individually it would cost you about $120 … and we’re selling our cheapest tickets for $20 plus service charge,” he said.

“I think it’s a great deal for students [and] that’s what we’re trying to do.”