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Savannah Music Festival releases 2019 Year in Review


This week, the Savannah Music Festival (SMF) released its 2019 Year in Review, an annual report summary highlighting the organization’s work from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 (FY2019).

In its 30th festival season, SMF presented 107 performances in 15 venues throughout Savannah, bringing in 625 artists and personnel from 25 countries. Total paid attendance for the festival was 29,065, 39% of which was made up of patrons from out of town. This resulted in 1,763 flights through Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, and 8,916 room nights for out-of-town visitors. SMF reported an economic impact of $10.05 million in overall direct spending, which included $7.65 million in visitor spending. An estimated $852,344 in tax revenue resulted from the 2019 season (sales and bed tax combined).

In FY2019, SMF reported a gross income of $3,685,345, 65% of which was raised through private donations, corporate sponsorships, foundation support and government funding, and 35% of which was earned through box office revenue. Reported expenses were $3,678,670, broken down to 43% artistic and production costs, 27% personnel, 11% promotion and marketing, 10% education and outreach, 6% general and administrative and 3% development and fundraising. The organization ended the fiscal year with a modest surplus.

In addition to presenting the springtime festival, SMF produced music education curricula and programming for local school children, as well as annual workshop and mentorship programs for aspiring young musicians in jazz and acoustic music. In FY2019, SMF made music education programs available to a total of 10,658 participants. Musical Explorers, a year-round K-2 program in local schools, reached a total of 10,369 students in 56 schools across 5 local counties. Two programs held during the festival, Swing Central Jazz, a workshop and competition for 12 of the country’s finest high school jazz ensembles, and Acoustic Music Seminar, an artist development program for pre-professional string players aged 14-22, reached 272 students across 8 states, and 17 students from 5 different countries, respectively.

SMF also produced a weekly statewide public radio series featuring recordings of live performances from the annual festival. In FY2019, over 75 hours of recordings were captured, and 52 episodes of SMF Live were aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting. This completed the 11th season of SMF Live.

SMF 2019 Year in Review PDF:


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