THE FASHION MEETS MUSIC FESTIVAL (FMMF) debuted in Columbus over Labor Day weekend last year. The festival was designed to capitalize on both Columbus’ music scene and its influence in the fashion industry. The inaugural FMMF featured 120 bands performing in 15 spaces, food vendors, fashion shows, a marketplace for fashion vendors, and drew 60,000 attendees over its three‐day run. The festival generated an overall economic impact of $5.6 million in 2014, according to a report by Regionomics. By 2019, the economic impact will have increased to $11.8 million. These figures are based on attendance projections by the event organizers, visitor characteristics of similar festivals, and typical visitor spending figures from Experience Columbus, the tourism bureau of the city. The staff at Experience Columbus promote visitor spending because the city collects a bed tax from overnight hotel stays. The City of Columbus will receive income taxes and lodging taxes of almost $52,000 in 2015, predicted to rise to $120,000 by 2019.
FMMF offers a variety of additional benefits that cannot be easily quantified in economic impact. These include creating an event of interest to Millennials, increasing the attractiveness of Columbus for this key demographic, spotlighting the key role of the local fashion industry in the Columbus economy and the important position of the region in the nationwide fashion industry, and promoting the city as a tourist destination.
The FMMF organizers have taken lessons learned from the festival’s premiere year and have made improvements to the overall experience. For one, the festival will be more focused geographically while the programming will be streamlined into two days, rather than three. The estimated attendance in for the 2015 FMMF is approximately 20 to 25 thousand people with the typical attendee falling in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic. Tickets already purchased for this year’s FMMF reveals attendees coming from all over Ohio, throughout the U.S., and as far as Brazil. Bem-vindo a Columbus!
As its reputation grows, FMMF will generate an increasing amount of regional and national press that will create a positive impression of Columbus as a vibrant city even among those who do not attend the festival. Just last month, Mashable.com published a list of 14 epic music festivals around the globe. FMMF made the number 10 spot, thereby putting Columbus on the radar for many unsuspecting readers. This is a good thing and we ought to champion such efforts that attract outside people and money to Columbus.