2014 Executive Director’s Letter

2 May 2014


2014 was our biggest year ever! Over 5,000 attendees enjoyed 10 days of live music. 8 beach concerts, 6 gala dinner concerts and 2 free to the public concerts were held during March 2-9, 2014 in beautiful Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico.


This year we held a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to buy airline tickets. We raised over $10,000 dollars in 20 days. It was a very exciting way to raise money and we couldn’t have held the festival this year without our Kickstarter backers.  We sincerely appreciate all 73 of you who stepped up to help us make it happen this year.

If you have been a part of the festival for a while, you know how much it has grown over the past 11 years. Our first event in 2004 cost about 12,000 US dollars. Our 2014 festival cost over 50,000 US dollars.

People are always shocked to hear that amount. People who have never done large scale events are amazed at how much it costs, while people who have done large scale events are amazed at what we can do for so little. The truth is we get a lot of stuff donated and without that generosity, an event of the same size would cost over 200,000 US dollars. It’s a miracle what we can do with 50,000 dollars, but that is still a tremendous amount of money to piece together from 100 and 200 dollar donations each year.

Our expenses have grown dramatically over the past 3 years — much of it due to the devaluation of the peso and rising costs. Most notable in this increase is the production expense of 8 days of large beach concerts.


We have posted our 2014 Profit & Loss statement on the website for full transparency. Click here to read it »


So what’s next? We are presenting a budget and a proposal to city and state tourism authorities. Our hope is to get the authorities to assume some of the costs —  in addition to the tremendous help they give us in logistics support for the beach shows, but we also know that that alone will not be enough. Our only solution to keep up with the expenses is to be more commercially viable. We have created an action plan for 2015 that includes more time spent on organization, greater international promotion, more commercialization of the merchandise and services, and larger corporate sponsorship and donor packages.

We always welcome feedback from our patrons. If you have any ideas on how to earn more money, please contact me! Please note that we are not looking for ways to cut costs — we are at a rock bottom budget already and are certain that the only way to continue to grow the festival is to double or triple our income.

We are a non-profit organization and as such, making a profit is not our goal. However, charity is not our goal either.  Our primary goal is to create a world-class music festival that generates tourism and benefits the community – economically and culturally.

We are striving for a self-sustaining budget that allows us to pay a fair price to our vendors and service providers, as well as provide adequate compensation to the musicians. Our current practice of not paying the artists becomes harder to justify every year, especially as the changes in the music industry today are so heavily affecting their ability to make a living.

It is also very important to note that non-profits generally do have volunteers, but not many large scale events or foundations are actually run by volunteers. I work on organizing this event year-round and many other people donate hundreds of hours. We need to pay the organizers of the festival or they will burn out.  Regardless of the formula, Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival needs to be financially solvent and self-sustaining. That is the only way to guarantee it will continue.

If you are interested in helping us find solutions, there are many ways to help! Sponsors, Volunteers, one-time donors, and Founders’ Club patrons are all important parts of making ZIGF work. We need a lot of help to make this amazing festival happen and we truly appreciate every bit.

2014 was a year of great music and great community. The overwhelming and positive feedback I got from the musicians, the audience, the other team members, was heart-warming and affirming. My sincere hope is that every new year will be the best year ever!


Hope to see you there,


Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival, Executive Director
ZI-Guitarfest, A.C., President
Zihuatanejo, Mexico