One of Rockport’s signature events, the Rockport Art Festival, takes place every year on the July 4 weekend.
The 50th annual festival was a banner year for the Rockport Center for the Arts, in terms of attendance and fundraising. The total weekend impact created visitation rates not seen since 2016.
The primary objective for the marketing and public relations campaign for this year’s festival was to increase visitation from major metropolitan areas. To accomplish this goal, the media buy was revamped, employing geofencing strategies of other festivals and events across the state. The focus was on four markets of interest - Austin, the Hill Country, Houston, and San Antonio.
This year’s media campaign was the most robust to date, with a mix of advertising in radio, TV, online ads, print ads, billboards, social media, and sponsored editorial content.
Attendance levels this year are comparable to 2016. Three of four major metro markets demonstrated modest increases.
The overall key indicator is percentage of visitors from areas beyond 70 miles of Aransas County. That figure rose five percent, surpassing 2015 and 2016. It was only three points shy of the 2017 festival, which was held less than two months before Hurricane Harvey.
People visited from 38 of the 50 states, and countries such as Canada, England, France and Mexico were represented.
A little more than three-quarters of the crowd visited the festival Saturday.
“We are pleased to see strong festival attendance this summer,” said Festival Chairman Karen Ernst. “We believe in the caliber of artists we feature and the festival experience as a whole, and want to be sure the public comes to Rockport to experience it first-hand.
“Our marketing team implemented new advertising channels designed to reach target markets across the state. The results of our expanded initiatives illustrate measurable increases in attendance from these desired markets. We hope our new found friends will be back next year and will spread the word about this great festival.”
RCA Executive Director Luis Purón said, “The Rockport Art Festival has been engaging visitors from across the United States for decades. It is a boon to our regional economy.
“Key indicators demonstrate recovery is definitely underway, and that our primary industry, tourism, is fully engaged.”