Short answer: Halloween and Pride (80% of funding) and 40 other events (20% of funding), at a total cost of $66 per resident, excluding staff time

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The City of West Hollywood’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes $2.3 million for special events. That’s $66 per resident, without counting the cost of staff time devoted to the events.

80% of the money is for two events: Halloween and Pride. Halloween is budgeted at $1.4 million, or $40 per resident. Pride is budgeted for $460,000, or $13 per resident. Police and fire services represent about 60% of the City’s cost for these two events (versus an average of 3% for other special events).

The other 20% of the budget is spread among 40 different events. To summarize them, we defined categories and put each event into one category. The results are shown in the chart below.

Notes: The categories are ours. When we compared this list to a 2011 list, we noticed that some continuing events, such as award presentations, weren’t considered special events anymore. Sources: City of West Hollywood, proposed FY2017 budget item, attachment 3; our analysis.

The following categories get 2% to 4% of the special events budget, or 10% to 20% of the budget excluding Halloween and Pride:

  • Other LGBTQ events
  • Events of particular interest to women, such as the Women’s Leadership Conference
  • Literary events and speaker series
  • Events for the Russian-speaking community
  • Health education and screening events

The City also invests significant staff time in these events. We don’t know how much all of that staff time costs. We do know that the division with the biggest special-event responsibilities has a $1.4 million budget for wages and benefits.


List of West Hollywood special events

The table below shows the special events in the proposed FY2017 budget. Use the scrollbar on the right to see the whole list. You can sort the list by clicking on a column heading.


Sources: Same as above.


Attendance at 2011 West Hollywood special events

We don’t have current attendance numbers for all of these special events. In 2011, the City estimated there were about 650,000 attendees, including residents, workers, and visitors.

That year, almost 90% of attendees were at the five biggest events: Halloween (400,000), Pride (125,000), the AIDS Walk (25,000), the LA Marathon (25,000), and the Sunset Strip Music Festival (11,000). This year will be different, since the AIDS Walk has moved and the Sunset Strip Music Festival has ended.

Many of 2011’s small-to-medium-size events are still held today. Their reported 2011 attendance ranged from 75 (Women’s Equality Day) to 2,000 (both the Russian Cultural Festival and National Night Out).

For more information about attendance and cost per attendee in 2011, please see our earlier article, “How much do our special events cost per attendee?“.


http://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/201606-special-events.jpghttp://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/201606-special-events-300x300.jpgDavid WarrenBudgetPerformance (effort)Recreation and culturespecial events
Short answer: Halloween and Pride (80% of funding) and 40 other events (20% of funding), at a total cost of $66 per resident, excluding staff time| The City of West Hollywood's budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes $2.3 million for special events. That's $66 per resident,...