SappyForever crowdfunding campaign proves successful

Supporters small and large rally to exceed campaign goal.

For a moment, it appeared as if $25,000 was too much to ask for 250 coffee table books filled with memories that most have already lived. Luckily, the Internet, and even the province, is bigger than a small college town with a predictably low-income student population.

As of this Tuesday, it appears that SappyForever, the hardcover volume created to balance the books of the financially imperilled festival, can be considered a success in more ways than one. The project has raised enough money to cover its own production costs, as well as the shortfall in revenue from this summer’s otherwise successful SappyFest. Moreover, the festival’s ethos has been reinforced by their financial difficulty, most notably in the generosity of Picaroons, and the festival’s decision to use crowd-sourced fundraising.

SappyFest has maintained via their website that their financial troubles were due in part to “their aversion to corporate sponsorship,” an attitude that has proven viable in light of the decision by Picaroons Traditional Ales to match all contributions, up to a total of $5,000, made toward theSappyForever campaign in its final twelve days. Picaroons, a small brewery which operates out of Fredericton, has been the festival’s “exclusive purveyor of quality beer and a strong supporter of [the festival] since 2007,” according to a post on SappyFest’s Facebook page. The brewery’s contribution incentive, which was made when the campaign was less than $10,000 from reaching its goal, is being considered “a testament to the merits of local partnerships” by the festival. This stands in stark opposition to the large corporate sponsorships that SappyFest has expressed a strong distaste for.

In addition to the financial contribution from Picaroons, the SappyForever campaign reached its goal due to small contributions from a variety of supporters, ranging from $5 to $1000 per individual contribution. Those who contributed $100 or more will receive a copy of the 160-page archive of the last eight SappyFests.

Although raising $25,000 within the span of a month may have seemed to be a lofty goal for a small festival like SappyFest, the overwhelming support for the project was not necessarily a surprise.

While the festival has garnered international acclaim from artists and attendees throughout its eight years, it has also been integral to Sackville’s economic well-being.  Various business owners recently commended the festival organizers for the “phenomenal [publicity]” and “financial and cultural boost to the community” that SappyFest provides, in an article published in the Sackville Tribune-Post shortly after the event.

What  was  initially  a worrisome announcement concerning the future of one of Sackville’s staple events is quickly becoming a story of how a small town festival can survive while focusing on community, art, and its own principles.

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