The cost of entertainment relates directly to the value put on it by the customer before the event. The charge or cost of entry into some local events has been brought into question by some over the summer. Some who are trying to stretch their budget to get the most out of the holiday season for their families.
The Focus decided to look at local events, how and how much they charge and the ‘value for money’ aspect.
One criticism was the $8 entry charge to the Domain Gala on January 2. This means $8 per car which includes parking and, while kids are free a car may well consist of three or four adults – basically a pretty good deal we think given the variety of stalls and booths which are themselves entertaining, musicians performing, dogs performing, wine tasting and, as explained by a Domain Society committee member “it’s not a market day but a major fundraiser to maintain the domain facilities and grounds for those who wish to use them, plus many thousands of dollars donated to supporting local concerns.”
Compare this to the $15 entry to the Waipu Highland Games. The spectacle of the games, kids races and novelties, the true ‘highland’ games which one can only see at such events, plus the dance competitions and even the skirl of the pipes when the Waipu Highland Pipe band fire up is , alone, worth the $15. Again funds go towards maintaining the Caledonian Park and it’s buildings and the Waipu Museum.
The summer race meeting at Ruakaka carries a $10 entry tag but only for adults as 18 year-olds or under are not legally allowed to bet so cannot be charged entry. As every other race meeting through the year is free entry there has been some criticism but this particular meeting comes under the banner of ‘Summer Racing’ and carries a variety of entertainment in the form of a rock band, miniature pony races, harness racing and gallops and a host of public oriented activities for both adults and kids, many carrying prizes. The majority of the crowd consists of holiday visitors from the city and, being an activity different from any other, is considered a bargain. Where can you get such entertainment in the city for $10?
Rock concerts held in the city often carry a price tag of around $100. Some less, many considerably more. Mangawhai Tavern was able to attract several entertainers of national and international renown over the Christmas/New Year period. Sunday shows were free and made pleasant family entertainment. Depending on one’s taste, players of choice could perform for $40 to $80. This amounts to a tidy sum when you entertain a sweaty crowd of up to 700 people, and for those who buy the tickets, it’s probably another $50 to $60 per round of drinks for your group – a great juice-extractor. However such musicians don’t come cheap. Apart from their basic fee they generally have an entourage of dogsbodies some workers and some shirkers, who also demand free food and drink so, generally speaking, if ticket sales don’t cover the asking price, the host may struggle to cover the cost of an international celebrity.
On the other hand going out to dinner with your partner generally carries a price tag of $100 for a couple. Breads & dips $12 - $15, entrée $20, Main $28 - $32, Dessert $15 - $20, Liqueur $8 - $10, a few drinks and/or a bottle of wine $30 - $40 and , hey presto, you’re well over the ton in dollar terms. BUT has the service been good, the atmosphere, the company pleasant and the food just the way you like it? Yes? Then, in that case the cost is immaterial or at least secondary. Bad news travels fast and if service or quality is below par in any establishment, word will generally get around fairly quickly.
A grandmother I know took three young ladies (6-9 years old) to the movies in Whangarei and was flabbergasted when the tickets and popcorn added up to the best part of $60. Two kids loved the movie. The six year old was restless and couldn’t care less and grandma thought it was a load of tripe.
Simply, you can’t please all the people all the time but in a place like Mangawhai, so reliant on summer trade, we need to try. If we feel we don’t get value for money we generally don’t go back again. The value from our spend is entirely personal but we have to admit that with the above, plus market days, surf lifesaving carnivals and other beach activities, art exhibitions, the museum, library, skate bowl and some of the best walking tracks around, it’s difficult to see how visitors can fail to get their money’s worth, regardless of how much they spend.
Rob and the team