A number of vendors who were based at the festival village in Road Town have said the fees to sell in the venue were simply too high this year.
This is not the first year vendors have made that complaint. However, vendors say they have taken exception to the fee this year, considering what has been described as the additional expenses they have had to incur.
“You have to pay to build the booth, you have to buy the materials to build the booth, you still have to pay for the spot to build the booth, you have to buy your items to sell, so some persons may just break even,” said one food vendor who, like many others, spoke to BVI News on the condition of anonymity.
While stating she was fortunate to make a profit at the end of the festivities, the vendor said organisers should consider reducing the vending fees back to what they were in previous years.
“They could just drop it back to the former fees of $1,000 or $800 because, as I said, the price to build the booth alone is another $1,500 [in addition] to $2,000 [vending fee].”
Unexpected experience for first-time vendor
Also sharing similar sentiments was a first-time festival vendor who told BVI News the experience was not what he had initially envisioned.
He argued that ‘high fees’ might not have been worth it.
“It’s high! When you pay for your slot … You still have to look for work men, painters, look for plumbers, electricians, so it becomes a huge cost and it doesn’t necessarily pan out, in my opinion,” the first-time booth owner stated.
He further said: “I think we haven’t necessarily faired as well as we would have hoped. The night Popcaan performed was one of the most outstanding nights and I think that is where we saw a little increase but not necessarily as big as we would’ve liked.”
A few positives
Despite his less-than-favourable business experience as a booth owner, the vendor said he is open to returning as a vendor in subsequent years.
“I like the venture. I like what it represents. I like the opportunity it presents. So, me personally, I feel like I wouldn’t mind doing it even though you’re doing it to make a profit. But, against what I look at — the comradery, the opportunity to share culture traditions and meet people — that’s the kind of energy I am more so speaking about. But, from a business and financial perspective, if that’s solely what I am thinking about, it will be kind of hard.”
Fee worth it, says children’s vendor
It was a contrasting experience for one female vendor whose business inside the festival village mostly catered to children.
She told BVI News her business did better this year than in 2018.
“At the end of the day, all of the profits combined in terms of the number of days add up. The only time we would’ve complained was last year when the festival was cut down to just one week. It wasn’t worth it because the profit-loss margin was high. Last year we didn’t do so well but this year we can say that the fee is worth it and that we are happy with what the new government is doing,” the vendor stated.
She, however, said there were a number of complaints from some of her customers with regards to the paid nights to enter the village.
“Usually, the most complaints we hear are that parents who are not coming for the entertainment and just bringing their kids for the rides. They feel like they shouldn’t have to pay on those nights which the admission isn’t free to enter and we kind of agree because we depend solely on the support of the children,” she reasoned.
Meanwhile, a number of other vendors who gave brief comments reported good sales on the nights that featured international artistes.
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