2024 Grant Application: Bookstock 2024

All Applications

Grant Overview

Please enter a brief descriptive name for this grant*
Bookstock 2024

Briefly describe the purpose of the grant
To provide general administrative support for Bookstock's June, 2024, festival of free and open to all programs of author sessions and Green activites; and, to support Bookstock's campaign to raise national awareness of Woodstock's cultural wealth.

What is the total budget for the project for which you are requesting EDC support?

How much funding are you requesting from the EDC?

Applicant and Organization Information

Name of Applicant / Organization / Business
Bookstock Literary Festival

Mailing address
PO Box 666, Woodstock VT 05091

Name of Project coordinator
Peter Rousmaniere

Coordinator's email address

Coordinator's telephone number

Organization's website

Organization's EIN

If you are applying on behalf of an organization, describe the organization and its mission (if you are applying as an individual enter "None")
Watch our short video portrait of Bookstock 2023! https://vimeo.com/900864079?share=copy Since 2009 Bookstock has put on a summer weekend of culture and arts. Our mission is to "Unite people in celebration of storytelling and reading." A program of some 40 authors and Green activities provides a rich, diverse cultural experience, one that enhances the town's image of cultural enjoyment. In our marketing we blend promotion of the festival with promotion of other cultural assets of Woodstock and promotion of the town as a destination for people committed to culture and arts. Please read our 12/15/23 report to the EDC for the 2022 and 2023 festivals.

If you are applying on behalf of an organization, what is your annual organizational budget (if you are applying as an individual enter "None")?

Project Description

Please provide a detailed description of the project
Bookstock weekend in 2024 focuses mainly on June 21-23. We collaborate with the Town and other organizations to host about sessions at which participants engage with 40+ authors who come from afar as well as locally. On the Green, a used book sale offers upwards of 10,000 books for prices from $1 up. Also on the Green, musicians perform and several dozen vendors exhibit their books and literary programs. For a modest charge there are several writers workshops. Participants, 80% of whom per survey come from outside the immediate area, choose which events and activities to attend. Some local organizations, including Artistree and the Thompson, put on related events. About 75 volunteers participate. The weekend is planned by a 15 person team involving highly qualified part time paid staff, the board, and volunteers. The weekend is heavily marketed throughout the Upper Valley and the arts and culture media platforms in Vermont and New England.

What is the timeline for the project (e.g. when will it be ready to start, when will it be completed,
are there important milestones along the way?
Almost all Bookstock events will take place in the week leading up to and including the June 21 - 23 weekend. some expenses are scheduled throughout 12 months.

What will success look like?
ACCORDING TO OUR ANALYIS, BOOKSTOCK EARNS AN EDC EVENT RUBRIC SCORE OF 29 GO TO: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TU_PWB-Wt9xxfgf-TdM1iGbYMj3T782y/edit 1. estimated turnout of 1,250 - 1,500. 2. Survey evidence that the great majority of participants come from outside the immediate area and some plan well in advance to attend from afar, and that they have been influenced by media platforms and our social media. 3. Satisfaction of our partners and all engaged local organizations that the festival is a worthwhile undertaking for them. 4. Satisfaction of our authors that their participation was valuable to them. 5. Strong evidence that local families participate with their children. 6. Growth of our local individual and corporate donor base. 7. Repeated volunteering among the roughly 100 individuals who have volunteered at least once in the past three years.

Project Budget

Please provide a link to a spreadsheet that shows the project's budget, using the format as indicated in this example

Please confirm that no in-kind expenses are included in the budget spreadsheet

If there are any explanations you would like to provide to help us better understand the project budget spreadsheet
please enter them here
Bookstock owns no physical assets and has no non-current debt. Its cash balance as of 12/31/23 was approximately $10,000.

Community Support

Is there a "project champion" who strongly supports the project?
There is no specific organization or individual outside the Bookstock team who is widely recognized as championing the festival. that said, several organizations perceive that Bookstock enhances the image of the Town in unique ways, for instance be promoting the cultural wealth of the community and the highly participatory nature of a free and open to all literary festival.

Describe the level of community support for this project
While Bookstock, a non-profit organization, directly plans and puts on almost all programs on Bookstock weekend, many local organizations participate, some since the 2009 debut. These include those we consider partners, such as NWPL, Pentangle, the History Center, Artistree, North Chapel, and Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park, and also the Vermont Standard, the Ottaquechee Health Foundation, a half dozen local inns, Woodstock High School students, and the Town. Some 75 individuals participate as volunteers.

Questions and Responses

Question: Can you describe the prospects for the growth of Bookstock? (submitted by Jon Spector)
Response: Our current level of participants (attendees), based on a careful analysis, is 1,250- 1,500. Because our *programming* of activities is larger in 2024 than in the past, we expect participant growth, particularly among families; as our *overall marketing* is stronger we also expect more people overall. However, we are likely approaching our maximum level. That said, the growth of regional and national visibility can significantly grow without a growth in actual feet on the ground, through a national environmental writing award. We anticipate this award will be among the 4 or 5 most visible environmental awards in the country and the only one in which physical location (Woodstock) in an integral part of. This kind of growth that promotes Woodstock is a key element in our strategy. As of 2023, 50% of participants came from outside the Upper Valley.

Question: Growing the number of people who live in Woodstock is a critical element of our economic growth. How can Bookstock most effectively support this objective BEYOND the basic appeal of the event in drawing visitors to Woodstock? For example - can there be a free booth at Boodstock staffed by local realtors? Or some similarly tangible way to helkp achieve this important economic development goal? (submitted by Jon Spector)
Response: Yes, to engage the 50% of the participants who come from outside the Upper Valley by, as you suggest, having a realtor booth on the Green is quite feasible!. But many of the out of UV people are likely living in driving distance (our survey records are not good on this). Another modest initiative might be to to promote on our social media and on the Green a lottery for $100 of books for participants who can prove that they live outside NH and VT. but we need to be much more ambitious It's useful to think of strategies that contribute to Town brand image far away in a way that increases salience of Woodstock as an attractive option for households *already* thinking of relocating from metro areas. As noted in another response, one way is to to attract people to move here is to signal the Town as an active cultural destination by, for instance, issuing a national award that is physically associated with the Town. Our website and our 2023 video are expressly designed to attract people from afar.

Question: If you were awarded the grant how would you plan to recognize the contribution made by the EDC (so the community can better understand the types of investments we are making in economic and commmunity development)? (submitted by Jon Spector)
Response: Our highlighting and recognition have suffered in the past from a combination of so many parties to highlight plus limited bandwidth of the planning team. The planning team for 2023 was about 7 people. the plannning team for 2024 is already about 20. In addition, the planning is far more advanced end of January than on the past. These mean that we can more thoughtfully focus on how to highlight the EDC. I recommend that Bookstock present to the EDC an array of options for the EDC to consider. This should be done by March to better implement the plan. And, I think it would be valuable for Bookstock to present to the EDC our entire marketing plan (well developed by Paul Jensen) and invite the EDC to suggest how to weave into the execution what EDC wants. This should happen in February.

Question: Hi, Peter. You and your team do a great job with this event, and I beileve it has srtrong benefit to the community. My only question is why has it not become self sustaining at this point? (submitted by Todd Ulman)
Response: Dear Todd, I thought about your question overnight. I want to respond fully. When we approached the EDC in late 2021, we sought start-up funding to bring Bookstock into a more sustainable future. This meant more professionally run and better marketed. We conjectured that it might take two-three years to make Bookstock fully sustainable. In that case, sustained giving and earned income will be sufficient, no longer needing start-up funding from anyone. In 2023 we had a reasonable goal which if achieved would have enabled us going forward to leave start-up mode. We failed to meet the goal, bringing us into 2024 without having achieved the target. Our 12/15/23 report to the EDC (Jon has it, we forgot to attach to our online application) describes how we built the festival and achieved a high level of out-of-area participants. The EDC’s funding, in effect, enabled us to build a “come to Woodstock” machine that is unique and complementary to existing promotion of the Town for visiting and residing. Asking for EDC funding in 2025 is 100% out. If we do not achieve our financial 2024 goal to allow for sustainability from giving and earned income, for 2025 we will redesign the festival while also keeping the “come to Woodstock” machine intact or more powerful. The EDC’s investment in the festival will remain producing economic benefit to the town going into the future. Your “investment” in us we think has been a good one for the town. Regards Peter Rousmaniere

Question: (Posted on behalf of Lee Moncton) Who in Woodstock benefits financially from the EDC Grant money for Bookstock, and how is this measured? (submitted by Jon Spector)
Response: About 1,250 - 1,500 individuals attend Bookstock (estimated in 2022). About 80% of them come from outside the immediate Bookstock area (survey conducted 2023). We have not attempted to calculate or use any rule of thumb to estimate spending by these individuals during the festival in Woodstock. We think it more useful to qualitatively consider the extent to which Bookstock sustains a unique cultural image of the Town which complements the image of the Town that is already in place. And, to consider how this additional image encourages people to visit and move into the Town. In our marketing of the festival (for 2024, this began in ernest on 1/25) be blend the features of the festivl with the features of the Town, which other literary festivals do not. We are exploring ways to extend the image of cultural destination in cost/effective ways.