Oswego won’t raise ticket prices for Venue 1012′s upcoming season

Oswego village trustees decide not to raise prices

Oswego village trustees have decided that ticket prices at Venue 1012 in Oswego this season will remain the same as last year.

Tickets will be $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Ticket prices had been set to increase to $20 for advance tickets and $25 at the door.

But concerns had been raised the increase was too steep and village trustees at their April 16 Committee of the Whole meeting decided ticket prices should remain the same this year. Venue 1012′s season will feature four ticketed concerts as well as four free concerts that will be presented as part of Venue 1012′s free Thursday night concert series.

Owned and operated by the village of Oswego, Venue 1012 opened in August 2021. Plans for Venue 1012 started to take shape after local business owner Kevin Fialko donated a 3-acre plot of land to the village.

2022 was Venue 1012′s first full season. In its first full season, Venue 1012′s event series operated at a loss of almost $22,000, Oswego Assistant Village Administrator Jean Bueche said during the meeting.

“If we lower ticket prices, we’ll get more people in the venue. If we kick the can down the road and say let’s look at it next year, then we’re missing out on opportunities for revenues.”

—  Kit Kuhrt, Oswego village trustee

Last year, Venue 1012 lost about $10,000, Bueche said. This year, staff booked higher caliber bands in hopes of attracting more people to the shows.

Village Trustee Tom Guist had suggested the ticket prices remain the same this year.

“It carries on from last year,” he said. “And theoretically, with better bands, that should increase attendance.”

Village Trustee Kit Kuhrt was the trustee who had initially voiced concerns about raising ticket prices this year.

“I think we should bring them down to like $10 a ticket,” Kuhrt said. “If we lower ticket prices, we’ll get more people in the venue. If we kick the can down the road and say let’s look at it next year, then we’re missing out on opportunities for revenues.”

Kuhrt said ticket prices were already too high last year.

“We don’t have big dollar bands coming there,” he said. “If you keep raising prices, it detracts people and they don’t want to come.”

Guist said he thought cutting the ticket price to $10 is going too low, especially since the village is spending more on bands this year. He said financially, things are moving in the right direction for Venue 1012.

“So I’m a little nervous about making drastic changes and going with super low ticket prices,” he said. “If we all of a sudden go down to $10, then we’re like scrapping everything we’ve been doing with the hope that we’re going to triple attendance. And by the same token, I think if we’re going up to $25 at the door, now we’re taking our prices and we’re changing what we have done when we’re already a little worried about attendance.”

Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo said the village has the option to put on more free concerts or to lower the ticket price.

“But just know that it’s going to cost us money every year in the budget,” Di Santo said.

Oswego's Venue 1012 opened last summer. Photo courtesy of the village of Oswego.

Trustee Karen Novy said when Venue 1012 was being built, it was being pitched as a community gathering place. It is available to rent for public and private events.

“I don’t see anybody from the community using it,” she said.

Novy said she would like to see schools using the venue at no charge.

“If this is a true community venue, we should be able to say, ‘Hey, the school district gets to use it, the park district can use it. The Limelight Theatre can use it.’ ”

Di Santo said the village met with such groups prior to the construction of Venue 1012.

“When we designed this stage, we met with all those groups,” he said. “All their input went into the size of the stage, the design, the pricing. All that came from their input. We met with teachers and Fox River Academy and everybody said this a great idea. And no one is using it. Maybe it’s time to reconnect with all those folks again.”

Trustee Andrew Torres agreed that the Village Board needs to look at the community use of Venue 1012. Di Santo said that village staff can reach out to different groups and ask them what is stopping them from using it.

Venue 1012′s season will wrap up on Oct. 12 with a breast cancer benefit concert featuring Billy Elton (a tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John) and Dancing Queen (tribute to ABBA.) The concert will benefit the Edward Foundation, the American Cancer Society and Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center.