ROCKY MOUNT - The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount has posted its best operational performance since its 2014 opening, recording a second straight profitable year in 2017. Harvester Chief Executive Officer Matthew C. Hankins presented the annual results to Rocky Mount Town Council this week for venue which completes four years of operation in April.
“For 2017, the Harvester Performance Center posted a profit of $18,328, about 19.6 times higher than the 2016 profit,” Hankins said. “Overall ticket revenue, per- show ticket revenue, per-show concessions revenue, per-show attendance, overall attendance and sponsorship income all reached new heights in 2017, while keeping ticket prices, concessions and merchandise accessible to more music fans.”
The year-end report was just completed by the independent accountant who reviews the Harvester’s books. The Harvester is an economic development initiative
of the Town of Rocky Mount, charged with hosting performances to bring in visitors to the community for world-class performances by well-known artists in an intimate
environment with outstanding acoustics. The Harvester received a clean audit report in the Town’s audit, as well.
“As long as the performances profit by $1, the Harvester staff is doing its job, bringing people into our community to experience Rocky Mount’s restaurants, shops
and lodging,” said Hankins. “I am proud of the work the staff is doing to bring so many people to our community, and happy that we get to help so many people
experience so many different forms of music and so many great artists.”
The Harvester hosted ticket buyers from 39 states and Washington, D.C., and at least five foreign countries, including five French cities, Italy, Great Britain, China
and the Netherlands.
“We make it a priority to have all types and all kinds of price levels so everyone can afford to come see a show, and more and more people are finding out about the
venue, its amazing sound and our friendly atmosphere,” said Hankins. “Most of our customers drive from within a three-hour radius, but we’ve hosted visitors from all 50
states and at least 17 foreign countries during our four years in business.”
Although the Harvester promoted fewer shows than in previous years, attendance was up and so was income across all sectors in 2017. Ticket revenue topped $1.5
million, exceeding all of the previous year’s revenue on its own.
“The Harvester staff and volunteers continue to create a great atmosphere for artists and fans alike, and we are pleased with the financial progress we’ve been able
to make,” Hankins said. “We are off to a great start for 2018, and we look forward to bringing visitors to experience world-class music in a great setting, with inviting
shops, restaurants and hotels ready to welcome the world to our community.”
The music, comedy and theatre performance facility is owned by the Town of Rocky Mount, which leases it to the Harvester. Rocky Mount underwrites the operations personnel, maintenance and utility costs paid for by increased tax revenues from meals, lodging and shopping taxes generated by Harvester visitors.
“Eight of the 12 months of 2017 saw record meals tax collections for that month,” Hankins said. “The four years before the Harvester opened, restaurants sold averaged
selling $23.5 million in meals in Rocky Mount; since we opened, restaurants have averaged $28.6 million in combined annual sales, and for the first time ever in 2017,
crossed a combined $30 million in sales.”