DDA festivals operating at a loss – Piper

Patrons at Creole 'n Jazz at Fort Shirley
Patrons at Creole ‘n Jazz at Fort Shirley

None of the festivals organized and hosted by the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) is dishing out profits, according to CEO of the DDA, Colin Piper.

The DDA has been organizing the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), Carnival and Jazz ‘n Creole but all have been operating at a loss.

“No, no, no, a profit hasn’t been made,” he said on Monday in relations to Jazz ‘n Creole. “A profit hasn’t been made for Carnival, Jazz, or World Creole Music Festival.”

Piper noted that unlike the WCMF and Carnival, the DDA does not receive a government subvention for Creole ‘n Jazz, nor does it form part of the government’s budget.

He described the budget for Creole ‘n Jazz as ‘very small.’

“This is a budget that comes entirely from the Discover Dominica Authority, because we felt that a third event was needed,” he said.

He noted that for the first few years of the Creole ‘n Jazz, with the exception of 2013 when Monty Alexander headlined, the DDA has been operating on a budget of EC$ 200,000 , “which is probably less than they are paying the headline act in St. Lucia.”

“So here we are having to do a fringe event, bring in quality artists, travel, hotel, per diem, stage, sound and light, venue preparation, transportation all the things that go into putting this thing together,” he explained.

Piper noted that presently Creole ‘n Jazz is in its developmental phase, “the next five years will be the growth phase and then from 10 years on would be the maturation phase, where we now try to reap the benefits.”

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52 Comments

  1. Peace & Love
    March 29, 2014

    Every festival has its issues. There’s always room for improvement. Take a look a this article about St Lucia jazz. (Link at the bottom) Also read the info below and see the profit argument and level of investment into the event:
    “Still, I have always supported, even when others have not, the continuation of the festival. The main complaint for some observers of the event has been that staging it costs too much money for the festival to be profitable. In any case, that profit argument was washed away this week by the undeniable financial benefits accrued by vendors, service providers, restaurants, guest houses and small hotels, beverage companies, boutiques, taxi drivers, Saint Lucian performers and so on. On the last day of the festival, which drew more than five thousand paying patrons at EC$200 a pop, the fact that Heineken and other beverages ran out quickly was indeed a sign of the amount spent this year by patrons. I am sure those with more financial acumen than I can arrive at a figure far exceeding the EC$8 million that the SLTB spent on the festival. http://stluciastar.com/jazz-arts-festival-a-success/

  2. March 27, 2014

    I have played with many of the same foreign acts that have played WCMF.They didn’t know where i was from and many times i have overheard them saying to other artist. ” hit them hard cause they pay good”. Meaning WCMF will pay.Some make $5000.00,even $2000.00 for a show,and then come to Dominica and have the biggest payday of their musical life.$15,000.00/$20,000.00 US.Do your homework WCMF.There are many good Dominican artist living abroad and doing good that could stir some excitement at any of the festivals.

    • Thia Scrum
      March 27, 2014

      We are lack crabs in a barrel, we hate to see other people do good. We will cut off our nose to spite our face…Jealousy. How did Colin Powell get that Job anyway? judging from his looks, he doesn’t seem to have an ounce of what it takes to run a show like the WCF or a Creole?jazz festival. He doesn’t seem to have the balls. Pays all these call musicians like Sean Paul. that band from Trinidad all this money, when, like Albert pointed, there are great Musicians like Brian Rock, Sty LaRocque, Stone who would put on an even better show. I used to enjoy creole festival before, but now it is pure . The show is geared towards pleasing the young people who no idea what good music is. The like that bram, music and songs with lyrics that make no sense, coarse,ignorant and tasteless.. I am not saying that you cannot please everyone,. Dominica has a lot of great music. A long time ago Creole festival, was french and we had french bands from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Africa etc. and I know for a fact that people from the Neigbouring island came to Dominica for the french music even thou they were from Grenada, St. Vincent and didn’t speak an ounce of creole. They loved it and now they don’t come any more. Now Iam not saying that we cannot have Reggae or bouyon or calypso as part of the show, but paying bands such as Sean Paul and Machel Montano when you are probably paying bands like Fanatic band, WCK etc.next to nothing! Mr Colin and his group need to step down.

  3. March 26, 2014

    Most organizations in the red including private sector. Nothing works with limited infrastructure. Do not forget this is ivor brainchild. Why blame piper. The guy cannot do much

  4. impossible
    March 26, 2014

    They say any thing is possible and i think that a profit is being made but “HOW”. If there was not some type of benefit to this then it would not be going on for years like it is. And it is obvious that something maybe happening that the public are not aware of or else they would have made some changes to their operations. You cannot mean to tell me you operating at a loss and you are doing nothing to help the situation. You either like it as is or you are not telling the public something. Something is up.

  5. call me baby
    March 26, 2014

    i have always say this from day one dismantle the office of DDa do the people of dominica know the large salaries staff members are paid not forgetting Piper doing nothing and all this can be under one ministry of Tourism It is just a waste of money Mr minister please have your say SAVE DOMINICA SOME MONEY

  6. me
    March 26, 2014

    GOD BLESS DOMINICA

  7. Bill
    March 26, 2014

    The Creole n Jazz is NOT A FRINGE EVENT. Fringe event to what? It’s a major event held in May/June to attract business to the country and to the north in particular… The Cabrits setting/ location is ideal for this kind of event, and is copied on the now successfully held St Lucia Jazz which is held at Pigeon Point in a setting similar to Cabrits… the incubation period suggested by Piper for this event, which he calls a fringe event, lol, is madness… but again what do you expect from DDA, for more just talk, and rubbish talk too :lol: :lol: :lol:

  8. Bill
    March 26, 2014

    Special events such as the WCMF, Carnival and Creole n Jazz do not generate a direct profit… We benefit from increased hotel occupancy, departure taxes, sale of food and beverage, sale of duty free and souvenirs, tours and other activities the visitors participate in… we can that foreign exchange earnings… Piper should know that :lol: :lol: :lol:

    • Bill
      March 26, 2014

      oops ” We call that foreign exchange earnigs” :mrgreen:

  9. Albert joseph
    March 25, 2014

    We in Dominica have too much Politics in everything.
    you guys don’t want to use what you have ,you like to take to much outsiders to run things that locals are capable of doing.
    I sure Val Cuffy can do a better job than you.
    There are many good Dominican Musician who could do just as good as all the recycle artists you bringing year after year.
    there are guys like Sty Larocque, one of the best drummer,Dominica have produce,out there doing good.
    There is Brian Rock in chitown doing good with his band.
    Martindale playing great compa bouyan etc
    we have Desi Hyson,a grammy norminee,
    Stone Ranger a boss guitarist,just to name a few, who can form a team; that can play in the wcmf for less than the recycle groups from outside;
    I say all that to say,you guys not interested in Dominican Talent,that is why you guys always at a loss. wake up.

    • March 27, 2014

      Thank you Albert,i’ve been trying to tell them for a long time.They pay the foreign artist way too much money, and then they take the money and run.Dominican artist from abroad would keep the money in Dominica.Most of us would love to be able to live in Dominica and travel oversea,make the money and then bring it back home.

    • JoJo
      March 27, 2014

      Albert I hear you but this is Jazz remember! If you want all that we must call it simply a music festival and that is not so special.

  10. mujahardin
    March 25, 2014

    When all the revenue generated must go into paying piper salary, how the heck you expect to get profit? Piper needs to be fired along with skerrit and his incompetent government. The fancy accent piper is highly over rated and certainly is an unnecessary burden to our tax payers.

  11. Patcho
    March 25, 2014

    Can Mr Piper tell us about the manager that keeps on popping up for different acts on WCMF.

    I think this year when they chose to select the acts a different way that same person ended up providing other services to WCMF.

    Someone needs to lend Pappy loudspeaker.

    lol

  12. I Die Nah
    March 25, 2014

    This is the only ‘manager’ I know who will admit that after 17 years in existence a product is non-profitable and yet we persist. You need to be fired!! If it is not good, then throw it. If it is good, then we need someone else to manage it. Someone with the testicular fortitude to sell all the tickets and not give them away. If government is injecting money into WCMF and expects tickets in return, then that is a sad case. It is either a subvention or a bribe. If you could not manage WCMF why do creole and jazz? It is evident you do not have the skills. Going to school and cming back with a piece of paper means nothing. We need people with common sense and balls!!

  13. Dominican in NY
    March 25, 2014

    That’s a lie! Too many people putting their hands in the profit basket because five or six years ago, there was actually a HUGE profit and trust me, I KNOW. Piper, tell the Dominican public wth happened to that money.

  14. J. F....
    March 25, 2014

    Not enough advertising, no decent airport = No people.

  15. Jaime Lewis
    March 25, 2014

    Can someone tell me how many organizations Mr. Piper is leading? How many positions does he hold? Are these full time positions? Director of Tourism, CEO of Discover Dominica Authority, and other festivals?

  16. AP George
    March 25, 2014

    These events can make money… and be profitable. First WCMF may be giving away too many freebies (tix, etc)… Airlines should sponsor as being the official airline of the event. Have official hotel, official this and that and have these companies pay premium sponsorships. Incentives for foreigners to visit; package deals (airline/trans/hotel/meals). Heavy internet marketing… Tighter controls at the gates… it can be done.

    If Mr Piper is trying to do these things, then it may not be entirely his fault. Dominica is a tough place to run a business. Costs are high and customer bases is small; low disposable incomes. So all these are affecting the events. There are not enough world class hotels in the country. And seriously, Roseau needs a major facelift. No capital city should have open drains of sewer or waste water running along the streets. That is just disgusting. ANy event should be self sufficient and be able to at least break even.

  17. ?
    March 25, 2014

    What! i find this so hard to believe.
    First time i hearing that. How much loss? And you have de guts to come out and tell us of the failures to break even and you not offering your resignation?
    Are you saying that the help coming from government is too small?
    can you believe what you reading Government?

  18. Vanya
    March 25, 2014

    well it’s dominica so that does not surprise, the island standards are at the lowest, dominicans keep failing to see the bigger picture, they are bathed in ignorance and no amount of good sensible pointers will change them..

    dominica will never crunch it…just take a look at how they discuss and view things, all them institutions have gone under.

    Dominica is a mud field island, don’t go there u will be doomed….

    • Out of State
      March 26, 2014

      LMAO.. That was a low blow human… We just need direction to broaden our horizon. We are too closed minded and as you rightfully said “we keep failing to see the bigger picture”. We will get there someday. A lot of us are now traveling, more educated, So in the interim, we would like if we are called a work in progress rather than a mud field island. :wink:

    • Asterix
      April 25, 2014

      Vanya: Your last sentence killed it

  19. March 25, 2014

    Personally, I would fire d manager. If he can say that, and he is managing that business for such a long time, I would fire him. He too climatized in that position.
    He should be bold enough to tell d government the funds they putting is not enough.
    How can your team be travelling so much to promote these festivals and we cannot make money.
    We now must be able to tell our Government to put money for the development of CULTURE and SPORTS.
    All they care about is to give their Jeans and dem free ticket and come and get free drinks in those boxes in the stadium particularly, and they doh support sports you know.
    START PUTTING SOME MILLIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE FESTIVALS and stop spend money on red clinic and Ministers giving women cheques of $500.00 and up to get a little workieee….

  20. Educator
    March 25, 2014

    You guys keep bashing Piper, but do you know how much money the various levels of government contribute to these types of organizations that promote cultural events in Canada, US, UK and the rest?

    Caribana has been in existence since 1967 and to this day they still get government subsidies. They draw almost 1 million people to the parade every year. Spending for that period is in the region of $400 million. The government sees how the festival positively affects the economy therefore it makes sense to provide some funding.

    Do you guys also know how much the State of Carlifornia sets aside to encourage movies to be shot in that State? Do you also know the amount the other jurisdictions offer to have movies shot in their cities and states?

    Do not make it sound like this is some foreign concept. The majority of cultural events and organizations are subsidized by governments.

  21. UDOHREADYET
    March 25, 2014

    ALLU MAKING MONEY$$$… THE PROBLEM IS HOW ALLU SPENDING AND WASTING IT! i know people that work with the organization just shaking their heads at the wasteful spending and lack of proper utilization, processes and efficient operations. They cannot manage… they cannot manage vendors, food, alcohol, compensation for workers, advertising ,promoting, business partnerships etc. its a loss because they have a loser mentality! some them probably have their own little business selling goods to the public a the events while the organization not making money on the vendor license or the sales of goods but their profit coming in another door!

  22. VISITOR
    March 25, 2014

    Why is it when I come there the customs officer asks me how much money I have in my purse?…I dont carry cash over the permitted limit, so its this a normal question for the officer to be asking me?..I find that that was a bit personal..

    • Irontaytay
      March 26, 2014

      But VISITOR, when I pass thru Puerto Rico, they ask me how much money I have, so what? You mean Dominica too small to ask you?

      Mr. Piper, at least you spoke the truth but you need to expand on it a little more. The WCMF can never make a profit. The amount of free tickets that are given to sponsors, family and friends of sponsors, friends of friends of sponsors and customers and friends of customers, how do you expect a profit? That just cannot be right. The people who get the free tickets can afford to buy. It’s these kind of people who kill the country. Mr. Piper, this is bigger than you, trust me you will never be able to clean this up. You should move on to better things, they are making you look bad.

      • VISITOR
        March 27, 2014

        If u read my question…im simply asking if this is a normal question to be asked by the officer…my concern isnt puerto rico…

    • Anonymous
      April 24, 2014

      Guess the planet u come from does not have anti-money laundering laws. How many light-years does it take for you to reach Earth? Guess what, while you were fast asleep travelling it was being implemented. Duh.

  23. justsaying
    March 25, 2014

    1. Maybe if the DDA reduce on the number of FREE passes to all those who can afford to purchase their own tickets then they might see some light at the end of the profit-less tunnel. How is it that year after year events are being held and not one year can they boast of making a profit?
    2. Has it occurred to the DDA that maybe if they reduce on the number of bands performing at the WCMF per night that it would help. Why have someone who is used to performing for a 4-5 hours come and perform for an hour and a half and pay them the same amount of money like if they were performing an entire night? Based on what i have noticed, the artists usually are just beginning to get hyped up when they are informed that their time to perform is up. My suggestion is that have less bands perform per night with a longer performance time per band. That then would mean less money to pay the artists and more money going to DDA. Just my two cents

    • Anonymous
      March 26, 2014

      Bravo! I support you 1000% on that one. I would just add that the free tickets come with a high price for food and in that VIP section. It’s really high time that these people be allowed to spend their own money

  24. bowdelle
    March 25, 2014

    ya’ll planners giving away too much free ticket under the table!!! people that in high position that can afford a ticket they getting free, so because u have high position in society then.

  25. bowdelle
    March 25, 2014

    so you mean to tell me all that years wcfm has been in existence, ya’ll yet to make a profit? really smh, something wrong somewhere.

  26. Morihei Ueshiba
    March 25, 2014

    I cannot believe we paying all these qualified people a salary and they cannot make a profit, no wonder the other islands way ahead of us if u cannot make a profit you should resign and join red cross or some other charitable organization, geez three festivals and u have the audacity to say this to Dominicans. 8)

  27. OK
    March 25, 2014

    Well Piper if all these years you were at the helm of these events and they are still operating at a loss then you should be dismissed, its as simple as that. And Government doesn’t have to offer any subvention to all events taking place, you guys can be creative and raise your funds, jeez, so Government have to bail out everything on this island. It would appear to me that you are not a good manager with this statement you are making. What about all those funds you guys losing every year when all Tom, Dick and Harry have to get a free ticket to WCMF? You guys need to do better than that cause we are paying our money to enter these events, so the question is the management of the funds so the onus is on you guys at DDA.

  28. Shameless
    March 25, 2014

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: But Change Must Come because it is NOT an option!

    Assertive, NOT Agressive!

  29. 2Cute
    March 25, 2014

    I dont understand.So you all planning to fail then ?

  30. ##D.A.##.
    March 25, 2014

    Smh. Going on 17years W.C. M. F. not profitable? JAZZ festival? even worst. But by the admission of the
    gentleman it is clear things are not working and usually if that occurs in the private sector or any other business, whoever is responsible should step aside and allow some one or other persons try cause we can only go up from here. I will leave the rest to others imagination. Dominica I am Sorry!!!!

  31. Jay
    March 25, 2014

    This is not sound business practice. The argument has always been that the “non-visible” earnings coming from activities such as car-rental, bar & restaurant sales, accommodation, transport etc. outweigh the costs. Maybe so but I have never seen that properly quantified and certainly not in a way that would reflect revenue directly accruing to the treasury. In that case the question must be asked: why should those, who derive pecuniary benefits from these activities not also pay for the costs. The least I would like to see is a break-even budget.
    That would be only reasonable and fair and help to ensure the survival of these wonderful events.
    Secondly, I believe that something must be done about the distribution of VIP (i.e. free) tickets. There are too many of these and typically go to those, who are more able to pay for their attendance than the general public.

    • bowdelle
      March 25, 2014

      thats true, twop free ticket to those who can actually afford..

  32. The Currupt Team
    March 25, 2014

    Mr. Piper, I am not going to be harsh on you because it’s really not your fault. It is very difficult to be asked to perform a task when those that are leading have no clue whatsoever of what to do. Why did it take you to speak your mind even if you tried to use diplomacy. Well Mr. Piper, every single government operated entity is running at a loss under Roosevelt Skerrit. The only thing that making money is the sale of passport but then again is only the high ranking members of the inner circle of DLP that making the profit. If WCMF is operating at a loss under Skerrit, why not jump off the sinking ship?

  33. observer
    March 25, 2014

    I hope Dominican artists step up their act, and when they do, I hope the receive the same pay as the so called ‘international artists’. Some of these ‘big’artists’ charge some exorbitant fees for their performance. Wish that money could stay in DA. But we have one artist, Michelle Henderson, that is right up there with the other international artist, and I hope that she is well paid as the others.

  34. Green Grove
    March 25, 2014

    any professional with his or her salt who tender a resign in my view….simple as that…

    means u are ineffective as a frontman for this important post.

    Piper needs to be axed!

  35. Surprise, surprise
    March 25, 2014

    And the next five years ‘greater losses phases’ sounds more like it. Feels like Piper says things because they sound good, like the 500,000 tourists by 2015 heehaw, sleep talking as usual. Getting the zzzzz’s. 8)

  36. grell
    March 25, 2014

    Piper bull crap,who the hell you think you fooling.If an event is not making money why have it.Sorry for the poor people in my country.You and the government ministers are gutless.

    • Mad 'Piper"
      March 25, 2014

      Piper you need to be FIRED….The DDA has been organizing the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), Carnival and Jazz ‘n Creole but all have been operating at a loss. The DDA has been operating on a budget of EC$ 200,000 , “and you have not been able to make EC $ 200,001.00 you must be joking….

      • JoJo
        March 25, 2014

        I don’t agree. Don’t fire Mr. Piper It’s not fair because he has to do as he is told but take that responsibility of the DFC away from him, free him from that burden and let him concentrate on getting more paying visitors to Dominica. Let somebody else run a loss making operation.

  37. Anonymous
    March 25, 2014

    I don’t get it. 200K cannot be for DDA total… maybe is a line item??????

  38. street side
    March 25, 2014

    This is factual esp the WCMF the rating are the lowest since it’s birth, way too many recycled acts, small budget, lack of high end marketing, due lack of international airport, a dead economy and the list goes on….

    the issue is that many folks in dominica think in the key hole,they are proud with crumbs a few drinks and laughter, but in terms of world class approaches that’s not part of Dominica’s DNA, they just don’t get it period never have never will….

    ignorance is the major contributing factor, contented in being average or non at all is the norm in dominica…

    that’s why dominica is rated the poorest in the eastern caribbean….sucks period!!

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