KSA lost $50,000 on Cram Jam; inexperience blamed
November 18, 2008 by Cori Alfreds
(Note: This article has been edited to correct Trevor Loke’s name, which was misspelled as Locke in the original.)
The Kwantlen Student Association is blaming inexperience for a $50,000 loss on this year’s Cram Jam.
The event was held Sept. 26 and attracted fewer than 900 people. Given that there were three well-known headliners â€“ Daniel Wesley, Ten Second Epic and Sloan â€“ the newly-elected Director of Events and Student Life, Vanessa Knight, thought that the concert would have been a lot more successful.
The original budget for Cram Jam was $100,000 but it ended up costing almost $120,000. Knight says that the concert “took on a life of its own” and the money needed to be spent. She says that the KSA, a non-profit organization, never expected to make money.
Knight didnâ€™t become involved with Cram Jam until the beginning of August, when she was appointed to the position after Trevor Loke resigned as Director of Events and Student Life for the KSA.
â€œHe came up with all of the ideas and had this big grand plan and he resigned,â€ Knight said.
Knight thinks that the huge loss was because of unexpected costs because â€œwe didnâ€™t know what we were doing.â€
Loke had allotted around $5,000 for advertising and he says that he had set up a provisional deal with CFOX, which would have allowed Cram Jam to be advertised cheaply. He says that CFOX understood that the KSA didnâ€™t have a lot of money to advertise; when he left the KSA the budget for advertising was still at $5,000.
The actual cost of advertising on CFOX ended up costing $29,000. Another unexpected cost was the bill for advertising in the Vancouver Metro, which was supposed to cost nothing but ended up costing $12,000. Knight blames Loke for not planning properly for the actual cost of advertising.
Loke responded: â€œWhen the trains do not run on time you donâ€™t blame John A. Macdonald for building the railroad.â€
About two weeks before the event was held, James Manear from Precision Entertainment, offered to kelp the KSA out and ended up saving the KSA some money, which helped to make sure the loss was only $50,000.
Loke said he started planning Cram jam before he even took office last year. He drew up the first budget and a number of provisional dates that showed how the concert would look.
However, Knight says that concrete planning for Cram Jam didnâ€™t actually start until early June.
â€œWe pretty much did the revised budget as we went along. It would have been done in like August,â€ said Knight.
Loke said that he originally proposed a $70,000 budget, but there was a debate between council members about the size of the event, the bands and the location. Loke increased the budget to $100,000, which was approved by the KSA council. Knight says that nobody went over the budget with an experienced eye until Manear came. He knew that there was something wrong right away, she said.
The budget called for ticket sales revenue of about $102,250, but the actual income was only $9,030. Knight speculates that this huge difference is because the KSA charged too much for tickets sold to the general public. She also thinks that holding the concert on the south side of the Fraser River was a bad idea, and that there wasn’t enough advertising during the summer because the KSA was waiting for students to get back into school and to buy tickets.
Loke, however, thinks that the KSA, after he left, should have picked a target audience, instead â€œthey just poured money into media outlets.â€
Loke said that his original idea for Cram Jam was to have a break-even event. He proposed cutting funding to all other events going on around that time, so if there was a loss â€œit would come out of the same line.â€
The $50,000 loss will come out of the KSA’s capital reserve fund.
Related: Locke suggests politics played a role in Cram Jam deficit
A political agenda inside the KSA may have had something to do with the $50,000 Cram Jam loss.
Trevor Loke, previously the Director of Events and Student Life, said that before he left, he had lined up a few Canadian Federation of Students-aligned school that were going to help sponsor the event., but that some people within the KSA had problems with that association.
In March 2008, as Cram Jam was coming together, the KSA was embroiled in a campaign to convince Kwantlen students to opt out of CFS membership. Students voted to reject the KSA’s proposal. Loke, an avid critic of the CFS, said that there are no reasons why the KSA shouldnâ€™t have worked with the schools as Cram Jam was not a political event.
Loke had gotten a few of the CFS-aligned schools on board with Cram Jam to help with advertising costs and ticket sales. Locke said he later found out that those schools were not only not part of the event, they hadnâ€™t been contacted, either. Loke also says that there were other sponsors that the KSA was looking at, and after he left, they weren’t contacted either.
Vanessa Knight was appointed to Lockeâ€™s position after he resigned two months before Cram Jam was held. Knight says that a few CFS-aligned schools were supposed to sponsor Cram Jam in return for cheap tickets for their students but it didnâ€™t end up happening. Knight said that Kwantlen didnâ€™t sponsor Cram Jam because it thought it was a bad investment. However, the CFS did sponsor Cram Jam â€œbut not nearly as much as we thought they would,â€ she said.
NEW: Cram Jam: The Video