BVI News

Govt’s vending fees too high, says booth owners at festival

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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  1. BVI says:

    What need to drop all together is the entrance fees…We should not have to pay to celebrate freedom…$20,30 & 40 per night is ridiculous, especially in carrot bay and east end…Festival gone to the dogs that’s why people from the USVI hardly attend

    Like 16
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    • @BVI says:

      Stop talking for the USVI because they didn’t complain about the entrance fee when they came to see popcaan. They were surprised that it was so low. You all want everything for FREE. Dress to kill in LV and Gucci and pat an entrance fee.

      Like 35
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      • Fashion Police says:

        Most of the LV and Gucci were not real, most of it was fake knock offs. I saw someone wearing a Gucci belt and it was fake. A real Gucci belt will not have loose threads popping out from the seam. You want to look fly, rock some True Religion jeans,nice T shirt with some Vans and a plaid long sleve shirt tied around the waist. You don’t have to match all the colors.

        Like 12
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        • Ladies says:

          Invest in a nice fanny pack and some nice faux fur slides. Agree, Vans is the way to go. Went to NYC for a few days and everyone is rocking Vans.

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    • BS! says:

      Disagree entirely. The paid nights were a good value for money and I even told my wife I think there should be a charge every night. Even if it’s just $5 it would help towards the cost of staging the event. This year was a huge improvement over 2018 and we thoroughly enjoyed each and every activity that we attended. I wish I’d have the stamina to make it to more of the events. Well done all concerned.

      Like 26
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    • Anonymous says:

      bull crop are you serious .stay home if u cant afford the price only tortola you all complain for every damn thing .

      Like 22
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    • Shut up says:

      Shut your cheap a**. When ayo go Miami,St Kitts, Anguilla, St Thomas and elsewhere and paying $60 or even $100 plus airline tickets, hotel, food. Do you complain?

  2. decline says:

    cost needed to fall back.or forget they get in office,they add or raise cost to living good.

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  3. Hmmmm says:

    If they can’t afford the fees they need to stay out. It has several people on the waiting list.

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    • Think before you talk... says:

      When the village is empty the booth owners do not make money. The prices, especially the entrance fees, are ridiculous. Where does the $1.5m from the Government go? Why are the taxpayers still being charged? It is time for a serious investigation of this Festival matter.

      Like 6
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      • @Think before you talk says:

        Agreed completely. Been a serious ethical issue from the moment big money entered into the carnival picture.

        Therefore, it is not untruthful or unrealistic to say, write or other, that every last man jack and woman, committee government, past to present, from the beginning to this very day, had their hands deep in the festivities jar.

        Accuntability for public funds? None existant.

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  4. Bahhumbug says:

    Always complaining

    Like 9
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  5. tolian says:

    only in the bvi you all complain for everything . next

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  6. The Truth says:

    Yall making money hand over fist with a plate of food cost $20!

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  7. Smdh says:

    You think that’s expensive you should try running a tax paying business above board.

  8. Windy says:

    Probably the same vendors that don’t pay their rent at Pier Park

    Like 2
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  9. Gaurantee says:

    There will never be a decrease in entrance, food and drinks especially and other activities even if the fees were dropped to $1.00. Such is the nature of the can’t make enough money addiction and greed.

  10. Me says:

    I agree, the price for booth seem to be increasing each year hence why the price of a plate of food will also increase. These days you can hardly get a good plate of food in the RT village for $10. Everything is over all up to $20 for a plate. Vendors should pay a booth fee of $800 in my opinion and the double decker ones $1,000. In this way they can sell cheaper and make a decent profit. After all its a business and should be a win-win. Also mix up the booths so that all don’t be selling the same food. I was happy to see this year a difference in the booths in Road Town. But yes, the committee needs to revisit these fees as some vendors are small food vendors just looking for exposure. My two cents.

    Like 13
  11. Typical says:

    This is very typical of BVI people, monkey see, monkey do mentality! Before you enter any business venture you need to do research and get as much information as possible. How can you complain about building the booth and getting workers to paint etc.? People seem to think they can erect the booth and because a few thousand will be in there on the weekend, they will get rich. There were far too many booths in there for the number of nights in road town for it to make any business sense.

    Like 11
  12. Too high says:

    But that is no reason to sell stale food. People want to know why they feeling sick, then remember it was that food from the village.

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    • @Too high says:

      I went village and the only thing I bought was water. My sister eat at tne village and she start complaining about having bad feeling in her stomach and threw up a few times. I think it was stale grease or maybe the food was not cook or store at the right tempreture.

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  13. Eagle eye says:

    I am trying to figure out where does the 1.5 million festival budget go if the venders troups etc are fronting their bills.that stage is pretty expensive even though money is collected by the gate to pay the artists.something aint adding up hmmm

    Like 3
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  14. Hah says:

    The smart booth owners did well because from 11:30am people were lined up for whelks or conch. The prices were as high as $27 a plate and it was war just to get a plate. Everyday it was the same routine. I sure before the village opened for the nightly festivities some booth owners already turned a profit. Dont talk about Stone’s it was a nightmare just trying to place an order. I wonder where people find money to buy food after paying $30 and $40 entrance fee but the place was packed most nights especially the weekend so based on that festival appeared highly successful.

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