SANTA FE, N.M. — For the first time, the Currents New Media Festival this year will charge admission for adults 21 and over.
There will be a $5, one-day fee or a $10 festival-long pass. There will be one free day on Saturday, June 15, thanks to a Meow Wolf sponsorship.
According to Currents co-founders Frank Ragano and Mariannah Amster, the decision to charge admission was a result of the festival’s growth over the years.
“As we’ve grown, our expenses have grown,” said Ragano. “It’s gotten to the point, especially because of the scale it’s working at, that we have to get serious about staffing.”
In addition to the two founders, Currents has two part-time staff members and someone who runs their social media accounts. The new revenue will go toward making the current staff full-time. Ragano and Amster said they’d also like to hire more people.
They also plan to put money toward paying the festival’s growing number of high school and college interns, as well as travel, lodging and shipping costs for the 35-40 non-local artists they bring to Santa Fe for the festival each year. Amster added that, as the festival grows, the installations and equipment become more complex, which drives costs up.
Grants and donations have been Currents’ sources of income for the past decade, they said. The festival now has annual budget of about $275,000, according to Ragano. Currents has promoted a suggested donation at the door in previous years, but Ragano said not as many people donated last year as they hoped. This year, visitors can sign up for to make monthly donations as they enter.
“Our sustainability relies on us finding other ways of raising money beyond grant writing,” said Amster.