By Mick Jensen
Ashburton Trust Event Centre (ATEC) manager Roger Farr told Ashburton councillors that last year’s October to December quarter was the busiest on record at the 10-year-old venue.
Speaking at a six-monthly council agency funding meeting, he said bookings for local and touring shows had been very busy in that period, and managing things had been a “bit of a balancing act”.
An example, he said, was when a touring ballet show came to town in late November.
The post-ballet clean up had kept staff busy until midnight, and a trade conference had needed to be set up by 6am the following morning.
Community events continued to be a major part of the booking calendar, he said, but there had also been 14 national touring shows for the July to December 2018 period, up from 10 in the same period in 2017.
The Bradford Room was receiving more bookings again, including a number from the agricultural sector, where health and safety seminars were a hot focus.
There were also more dairy meeting bookings and greater opportunities to offer catering services.
He said while the Woodham Lounge bookings were up, those bookings often came at the expense of the Green Room.
ATEC had pulled back a bit on its own procured shows, because they presented a greater risk and relied on strong ticket sales, and also because there were more touring shows coming here.
Mr Farr said ATEC partner online ticket seller Ticket Direct was rebranding and would in future be known as Ticket Rocket.
There would be adjustments to the fee structure applied to both the customer purchasing tickets and the promoter selling tickets.
For example, booking fees would rise from $2.50 to $3.50, he said.
Mr Farr said ATEC would in future receive a fee from internet sales and he also expected a drop off in box office sales, as more people booked directly online.