, Corbin, KY

February 27, 2013

Addressing concerns about NIBROC changes

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Dear Community and NIBROC Supporters:

The Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to address some of your concerns regarding recent announcements about changes to the NIBROC Festival.

Around the time of NIBROC 2012, the City of Corbin contacted the Chamber with concerns about certain details of the festival. Since that time, representatives of the City and Chamber have had numerous meetings and discussions in an attempt to come to an agreement on changes requested by the City.

As many of you have read in the newspapers, the City voted against using Main Street for NIBROC. This change moves the entire festival to Depot Street. The use of the parking lot behind The Elks Lodge and News Journal, (between Monroe Street and Gordon Street) will also be restricted. The City plans on renovating the lot which will prohibit carnival rides. While it can be used for vendors, volleyball or possibly entertainment, we as a board, are concerned that putting entertainment here will drastically reduce the already limited number of vendors, both commercial and local. The carnival would locate at the corners of 1st Street and Depot Street and continue down Depot Street from 1st to 4th Streets. It would include all parking lots and possibly extend to 7th Street.

It is important, at this point, to provide background regarding how the festival works. In previous years, the Chamber combined corporate sponsorships, vendor booth fees and proceeds from the carnival to offset all of the costs associated with NIBROC. These costs include the entertainment, production costs, staging, lighting, vehicle rental, tent and chair rental, clean up during the day, travel expenses, roundtrip shuttle service from the airport to Corbin and required insurance, just to name a few. As with most festivals, there are other “behind-the-scenes” expenses many people are unaware of.

The profit received from the NIBROC Festival after expenses are paid is invested in educational programs such as Workforce Development, the Work Ethics program for students in Williamsburg and Corbin Independent Schools, entrepreneurial training and many other workforce training programs either initiated or supported by the Chamber. Each of these programs provide numerous benefits including investing in the intellectual capital of our community.

 The entertainment at NIBROC encourages corporate sponsorships. Without adequate room to have entertainment, we cannot depend on funding from these previous sponsorships, resulting in a reduced budget for NIBROC 2013. Because the number of vendor booths is being downsized drastically, most of the profit received will come from the carnival but it is not enough to cover the costs of having entertainment. Ultimately, the change in location affects the revenue and budget of the festival, which in turn affects the overall scope of the festival.

The Chamber has considered numerous options. It was suggested the entertainment be moved to The Arena. While it sounds like an easy answer, this option has been explored thoroughly but, unfortunately, it is not a practical solution for many reasons. The City offered The Arena with use of a stage, at a reduced non-profit fee. Using The Arena would also incur labor, parking and facility fees and insurance expenses totaling over $11,000. This fee does not include sound production and lighting requirements. The insurance required for The Arena would be in addition to the insurance required for downtown events. These expenses make using The Arena cost prohibitive at this time.

We feel the festival has been one way the Chamber is able to give back to the community. Another way is through the earlier mentioned educational and training programs. We may not agree with all of the changes but compromise requires them. We will continue to explore entertainment possibilities but fear they will not match the level of expectations reached in previous years. Our intentions are to continue our efforts to contribute to the community to the best of our ability. We thank you for your continued support and understanding.

Board of Directors,

Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce