“Cantonstock Music Festival”
Canton Public Schools Performing Arts
Our parent booster group “Musiccounts!” does an annual fundraiser called Cantonstock. During this fundraiser every student who plays an instrument in grades 2nd-12th performs. We raise money through concessions, sponsors, corporate donations, games, and auctions. This money is used to directly support music in the district by funding lesson scholarships, funding instruments for a borrowed instrument program, and sponsoring students to go to festivals and events.
Our objective of Cantonstock is to raise money and showcase the amazing talent of our district from young to old. It is a great community event where families in the community come to enjoy music, games, and food and spend the day celebrating music in our district.
This is a huge community event. The day invites the community in to celebrate music. Corporate and individual sponsors are showcased on the day of the event but also on the concert programs throughout the whole year.
From August-November we focus on organizing our annual event Cantonstock and obtaining corporate and individual sponsors. We find in-kind good for the auction and prepare the food and events. During this time we also prepare the students for their first performance of the year. Our event is hosted on the first Saturday in November; after this, we focus on allocating the money raised to funding requests from the teachers in the district. We consider requests from November to June of each year.
Overview of Planning and Execution
Our Musiccounts! board of parents plan the majority of the event. This includes president, clerk, treasurer, and eight board members. We meet for 5-10 hours as a team and then work individually on project for another 20-30 hours. Several parents and community members volunteer to help out or help run the event that are not part of Musiccounts! Additionally teachers and students prepare for their performance for at least two months during class time. The department coordinator arranges the schedule of events for the day and acts as the connection between the parents, community, teachers, and students.
Tools and Resources
We use our website to collect donations. We send our corporate appeals for donations through emails and letters. We use donorbox as a system for donation collection.
Marketing and Promotion
We always put an add in the local newspaper for the event. Additionally every student is responsible for promoting the event by collecting in individual sponsors and bringing an audience to the event. We use social media to post the event to the town and send a blackboard connect announcement to members of the school district. This is a family friendly event and has many members of the community attend who do not have active children in the program. All of our promotion efforts create a crowd of about a thousand people throughout the day.
We spent $480 on advertising, $307.42 on arcade games and prizes, $697 on custodial fees, $934.70 on food for concessions, $257 on police detail, and $2254 on T-shirts. This was a total of $4930.12 of expenditures.
One major obstacle is deciding what changes to keep as we come out of the global pandemic. We did this event online for a year and then outdoors for a year with auction online. This year we decided on a hybrid event with some aspects outdoors and some indoors. We kept an online element to the auction. We also tried to spead out the groups performing to limit the size of crowds at any one place and time. It has been difficult to balance the health of our community with a fundraising event of this scale.
We believe that our efforts were both successful and effective. Our first accomplishment is that every student in grades 2nd-12th who plays an instrument had the opportunity to perform. Second, our crowd held over 1,000 people, making this the largest event in our district (aside from graduation ceremonies) and engaging many members of our community. Third, we were able to provide a venue for local businesses to advertise as well as throughout the year in our concert programs. Fourth, we raised $15,320 for our music program. Their annual budget is around $18,000 which means we raised an additional 83% for their budget.
The event day was an amazing showcase of our music program and its connection to the community. All of the money raised goes back into the music program and allows more students to have access to private lessons and allows more students in financial need to borrow instruments in order to be involved in the program.
Advice for others?
This is an amazing community event and has grown into something that the whole town loves. Make sure to seek out all opportunities for revenue including individual sponsors, corporate sponsors, and day of money makers like concessions and games.