After a six-month bid process, Columbia and the University of Missouri will continue to remain home to the state music festival for another five years.
Mizzou has hosted the Missouri State High School Activities Association music festival for half a century but MSHSAA officials decided to bid out the festival for the first time this year.
The MSHSAA board awarded the bid to Columbia at its meeting Wednesday.
The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau worked with Mizzou to put together the bid and also received support from many businesses and organizations in the community. The festival costs about $35,000 to put on each year.
The community is a key player in keeping festivals and events in Columbia. For instance, low community engagement was a main factor in the loss of the MSHSAA state basketball tournament to Springfield. The city raised $80,000 in mostly private donations last year to lure the tournament for 2018-2022.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau will pay $12,500 for the festival. Mizzou and the community partners will pay the rest.
MSHSAA was not only looking for the promise of financial support for the festival, but also a warm welcome from the community.
The CVB said it tried to create “an even stronger atmosphere in hospitality than in the past” at this year’s festival, according to a press release.
Those efforts included welcome signage, nametags for volunteers, a Columbia information tent and a custom Snapchat filter for the festival. They also secured additional classrooms on campus for the event.
Dr. Julia Gaines, the director of the School of Music, said Thursday this was great news for Mizzou and Columbia.
“As musicians, we love serving as the host department and bringing music to many locations on campus that don’t normally have music,” she said. “It’s a wonderful festival for us not only to bring future Tigers to campus but to show the importance of music in the general education of a student.
Gaines said they made two large accommodations that also contributed to winning the bid.
First, she said they usually did a few of the same schools on Thursday, some on Friday and then a big day on Saturday. This time around, MSHSAA asked anyone who was applying for the bid to make the competition three equal days. It got complaints that schools had to come on Saturday and stay late.
“Now they are going to rotate schools and switch to even days,” she said. “That made it much more challenging for us to find classrooms but we worked with the registrar’s office and have to come up with a plan that will accommodate the equal days.”
MSHSAA also asked Mizzou to consolidate the festivals because it didn’t want students and their audiences traveling so far across campus. In the past, Gaines said that they’ve used classrooms and spaces that were spread out and made it difficult for accompanists to get to.
“Some accompanists will need to accompany 20 to 30 students and they were literally sprinting across campus at time,” she said. “Again, we worked with our registrar’s office to find classrooms within a smaller foorprint to accommodate this request.”
In addition to bringing potential students to Mizzou, the festival has about a $1.3 million economic impact.