Headwaters Park lost 85 percent of event revenue due to COVID pandemic

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne’s festival season is just two months away, but what that will look like is totally up in the air. Headwaters Park, the city’s festival center, is hoping to hold about 30 events this year if possible.

“The COVID-19 pandemic situation has changed everything in all of our lives and one of the things that we saw in 2020 was the cancellation of festivals and events,” said Geoff Paddock, executive director of the park.

He reports that Headwaters Park saw an 85% drop in events revenue last year, that would be concerts, festivals and the like. Their event income dropped from about $100,000 to $15,000.

“When you have an impact of that magnitude on your festival revenue, it really can take a hit on your expenses,” he said. “Luckily we were able to get by.”

They were saved by some cash reserves their organization had for rainy days such as thes and donations from the community.

Paddock explained that they could face deep financial troubles if they have to cancel events again this year. Everything was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biggest event held at the venue is Three Rivers Festival, which traditionally has 300,000 to 500,000 attendees. The festival’s executive director Jack Hammer said they plan on having TRF this July.

“Yes there will be a Three Rivers Festival this year and because we’re people that want to make sure that folks are safe, whether it’s our volunteers, the people that are attending, or our board, we of course will be up to date with any suggestions or restrictions brought to us by the board of health or anyone else,” Hammer said. “We want to make sure people are safe, but we know Fort Wayne needs a big party and that’s why we’re fully planning on moving forward on the Three Rivers Festival 2021.”

All these events will have to reduce capacity, but hopefully not too much.

“We hope that the reduction in events if there are any are not nearly what we saw in 2020, if we can just keep that to 50 percent capacity or so, I think we can be okay,” Paddock said.

Festival season at Headwaters Park kicks off April 24 with the Michiana Wine Festival and Labor Day Picnic.

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