CORNER BROOK — The laser light show, which had drawn the largest crowds since the inaugural East Meets West festival in 2009, has proven too huge of a draw on the event's budget.
The fourth annual festival, which starts today and runs until Sunday, will not feature a laser light show because the City of Corner Brook had to find a way to keep the event's overall costs down.
Mike Dolter, the City of Corner Brook's chief administrative officer, said East Meets West has run a deficit in each of its first three years. Looking at how to make it more feasible in 2012, the roughly $22,000 price tag on the nightly laser show could not avoid the chopping block, even though thousands of people flocked to the West Street area to take it in during previous festivals.
"It was very popular, but the laser show was not a draw for people to come down during the day," said Dolter. "We were reluctant to do it, but we were hearing comments from some people who thought it was starting to get old, even though it was different every night."
The city is hoping to come up with an idea to replace the popular laser show in 2013. For this year, Dolter hopes nightly live musical performances will still get people downtown.
"We hope the impact (of not having the laser show) will be minimal," he said.
The budget for the first East Meets West festival was $177,000 and that event lost around $60,000. The deficits experienced have decreased with each passing year, he noted, and the current budget is $162,000.
There is also less provincial and federal funding being made available to the event as some of those sources that had been accessed were primarily earmarked to get the festival established, mainly in terms of infrastructure.