Seattle Theater Group’s recent announcement that its THING music and arts festival would not be returning to Port Townsend, after three years at the Fort Worden, it did not come as …
Seattle Theater Group’s recent announcement that its THING music and arts festival would not be returning to Port Townsend, after three years at the Fort Worden, it did not come as a surprise to Fort Worden Hospitality CEO Matt Gurney.
“Fort Worden Hospitality has been in steady contact with Seattle Theater Group (STG) over the past two years,” Gurney told The Leader. “They have been very clear with us about the artistic success of the show, its challenges and their hopes for a sustainable financial model to keep it going.”
Gurney credited Seattle Theater Group with having made “significant” financial contributions to return THING to Port Townsend three times, “and that is greatly appreciated.”
Gurney likewise characterized Seattle Theater Group as “forthright” about “its inability to keep THING going at a significant loss,” as well as the logistical challenges STG has encountered.
“This transition was disappointing, but not shocking,” Gurney said. “Both STG and Fort Worden Hospitality acknowledge that this was a community effort, and STG staff were at the Fort to share the update directly, to as many people with whom they have closely collaborated as possible. I know this was an impact to the community, and a benefit enjoyed by it as well.”
Gurney expressed his appreciation to the Port Townsend community for rallying around the THING Festival.
“I can’t speak for STG, but I can say they expressed a deep appreciation for the Port Townsend community to me directly, and a commitment to continuing to engage in programming at the Fort,” Gurney said.
Gurney described THING as “a large event” for Fort Worden Hospitality, and one that had “good financial benefit.”
He added, “We are hopeful that, through our continued collaboration with STG, we will be able to have concert events at the Fort that will retain excitement and creativity, while minimizing the significant logistical impacts experienced by such a large festival. We now have the opportunity and interest in booking (what was) THING week with new business and ample time to sell.”