The Vermillion City Council isn't afraid to bank on some crazy artists to bring more economic development to town. At its Monday meeting, the council approved becoming an official sponsor of the new South Dakota Shakespeare Festival. Coyoteopoly, a corporation run by students of the USD Beacom School of Business, and the USD College of Fine Arts are planning to hold the first outdoor Shakespeare fest June 8&ndash10, 2012.
The city's not on the hook for any money; the resolution passed Monday simply gives the city's blessing and holds out the possibility that the city may make improvements this fall to Prentis Park, the planned venue on the east side of Vermillion. Reporter David Lias says Prentis Park has an outdoor amphitheater that hasn't been used for years. The festival planners hope to bring 2000 people to the amphitheater each evening of the festival next year.
6000 people... let's do some math! Coyoteopoly CEO Brandon Lyle says the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last year drew 400,000 attendees who generated close to $62 million in economic activity. Let's see... $155 per attendee, 6000 attendees... at that rate, Vermillion could see $930,000 in additional business during next summer's festival. Coyoteopoly has planned a budget of $30,000, to be obtained through fundraising and corporate sponsorships. Even if the Shakespeare Festival draws only half the hoped-for crowd, it generates a 15:1 return on investment for the community.
Three days of Shakespeare in the park—that's a heck of an idea! I am thrilled to see that the hard-nosed capitalists we are training in our state's business school recognize the economic development potential of the arts.
Say, Coyoteopoly, I think I know a blog that could advertise to your target market....