Remember when everyone was looking for Waldo...that kid with circular specks, a bobble hat and a red-and-white striped shirt hiding out in puzzle book scenes? Well, one great idea usually leads to another. Last year, Brits Matt Everitt & Jim Stoten released The World's Greatest Music Festival Challenge, a rockin' "seek and find" for music lovers.
Each two-page spread highlights an iconic moment in music festival history. Your job is to find Bob Dylan "going electric" at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and the entire Led Zeppelin Band at the Pilton Pop, Folk & Blues Festival circa 1970.
While it's pretty easy to find Crosby Stills & Nash and The Who at Woodstock, it's much more difficult to find Pink Floyd, the Police and Public Enemy watching Nirvana blow the crowd away at the 1992 Reading Festival. You've got to be a serious music fan to take up that challenge.
But, seriously, you are. You just took on one of the biggest music challenges in the Phil's history--and met it in record time. At the beginning of the season, we announced a 16-month, $200,000 matching gift challenge from one of our generous donors. Well, we certainly didn't have to look very hard for Phil fans. You didn't blend into the music fest background waiting to be found. You stepped up and not only met the challenge--you exceeded it in less than six months. I knew you could. I knew you would. Thank you.
Challenges like this don't come along very often, and they certainly inspire giving. During this challenge, 23% of the donors increased their gifts from the previous year; another 25% donated to the Phil for the very first time. In addition, 10% of the gifts came from Phil fans who had given in the past, but not in the last year. Wow! Impressive. Thank you for stepping up in such a big way.
I wish the success of this challenge meant we could sit back, enjoy the music and stop searching for additional funding. But, every year, we need to raise more than a half million dollars above ticket sales to keep the orchestra thriving. Every year, we need to find new sources of revenue so that we can continue to bring world-class music and educational programming to South Shore communities. And, every year, we need to ask for your help. So, if you haven't made a donation recently, please consider making one now. Every donation matters.
Opening night of the Phil's 104th season is in less than two weeks. It's the beginning of another magical music festival together. Every time I look out into our happy crowd, I am amazed and thankful for what we have accomplished together. Trust me, this kind of ongoing community support is much harder to find than Buddy Holly hiding out in the Texas clouds or a kid wearing a bobble hat on a crowded beach.
Thanks again. It's going to be a great season. See you soon.