june 30 – july 3, 2017

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Where does my money go? (2016)

Below is our detailed budget report from 2016. In 2017, the trends below continued with an increase in cost to core services and a continued shift from stage expenses to art and activities. However, we were able to increase attendance just slightly, which allowed us to keep the ticket cost increase to only $6 (to $219) in 2017.

We realized that we hadn’t previously discussed the specific choices we make around money to plan Priceless. We think that’s information worth sharing. We work really hard to keep costs down and think it’s important for our community to know why tickets have increased in price for the last two years.

For the last few years we’ve sold about 650 tickets to Priceless. To determine a price for those tickets, we develop a budget that covers mandatory expenses like permits and safety stuff, as well as fun stuff like music and art. Once we know what Priceless will cost, we divide that number by 650 to get a projected ticket price. If it seems too high, we trim a little from the budget and try again. We make a final decision by consensus.

Priceless is funded entirely by ticket and parking revenue, and False Profit doesn’t profit from organizing it. Keeping the cost of tickets low is a goal that’s important to Priceless as a community. We ask Priceless planners and volunteers to pay what they can towards the cost of their ticket. Where there’s a choice between using our own labor and paying a vendor, we prefer to do the work ourselves.

We’re not opposed to spending money where it matters. We try our best to incur costs only where doing so improves the quality of your experience. For example: running more frequent parking shuttles is expensive, but we’ve seen how a shorter parking process makes people really happy. Likewise, we care about the quality and amount of art and music at Priceless, and that’s a place where we direct a lot of our money and attention.

It’s getting more expensive to throw big parties in California. Core infrastructure is the part of the budget that is decided for us by critical vendors and the government. It contains some of our least sexy and most important expenses: permits, medical, sanitation, and use of the space in Belden. In 2015 we spent $36,525 on these parts of Priceless. In 2016 we expect to spend $53,016. Most of this increase is from the cost of a couple of permits: one in particular increased by $8000.

Tickets cost more this year. We chose to increase their price to cover the increased cost of un-fun things while maintaining the high level of The Good Stuff that we all come to Priceless for. We thought a lot about how best to handle this decision, with the intention of making a choice our attendees would support.

Below is a table that shows roughly how the Priceless budget is distributed. The pie charts show the proportional shift in these major budget areas from last year. If you’ve got specific questions, send an email. We’re happy to talk about it.

Core Infrastructure $53,016
Other event stuff (parking, security, etc.) $17,165
Art, activities, and fun $15,399
Music (stages, troubadours, sound, lights) $64,858


2015 Priceless Costs

2015 Priceless Costs

2016 Priceless Costs

2016 Priceless Costs

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