LENOX, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Tanglewood festival’s economic impact is expected to rise to $127 million during construction of the new four-building complex in support of the Tanglewood music center and the new Tanglewood learning institute, opening in summer 2019
New data comes from preliminary findings of a new third-party economic impact study from Stephen Sheppard, professor of economics at Williams College
The complete study, with economic impact details about the Boston symphony, Boston pops, and Tanglewood, will be released this summer.
Tanglewood’s performance and operations activities have more than a $103 million impact on the economic activity in the state and in the Berkshire region, according to preliminary findings of a new third-party study by Stephen Sheppard, Professor of Economics at Williams College. This number represents an increase of over $40 million when compared to the previous third-party economic impact study in 2008; it was reported at that time that Tanglewood’s economic impact in the region was $60 million. Professor Sheppard accredits the 70% increase in the economic impact of Tanglewood on the Berkshire region to several factors, including: an increase in the festival’s overall attendance; an increase in the amount people spend per visit; an increase in the length of time people stay in the area per visit; and a growing perception of Massachusetts, in general, and Berkshire County, in particular, as a vibrant tourist destination.
Professor Sheppard was a lead researcher and economic analyst for the 2008 Mount Auburn Associates study. Mr. Sheppard’s full 2017 report, analyzing the economic impact of the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood both statewide and on their respective regions, will be released this summer.
“My analysis of the impact of Tanglewood, including the impact of the operations at the music center, the impact of visitors who come to the Berkshires to attend a Tanglewood event, and the impact of planned new construction at the Tanglewood Learning Institute underscores how important Tanglewood is for the region’s economy,” said Stephen Sheppard, professor of Economics at Williams College.
Sheppard went on to say, “As a major cultural attraction for the region, Tanglewood is responsible for significant amounts of localemployment, labor earnings, tax revenues and economic output. Our economic model illustrates the wide variety of jobs that exist in the region because of Tanglewood. This includes many jobs in economic sectors not normally associated with cultural tourism, including hospitals, physician services, banking and business administration where labor earnings easily exceed $70 thousand per year. With the other economic challenges that confront communities in the county, we are fortunate to have the continued presence of Tanglewood as a key economic force of the region.”
Mark Volpe, Eunice And Julian Cohen BSO Managing Director noted, “An iconic music festival known the world over, Tanglewood is vital to the cultural life of the Berkshires and equally important as a contributor to the economy, adding more than $103 million annually to the economic engine of the region and the state, an increase of more than $40 million since 2008.”
“It is deeply gratifying to all of us at the Boston Symphony Orchestra that our investment in the future of Tanglewood—with the construction of a new four-building complex for the Tanglewood Music Center and the new Tanglewood Learning Center—will make such a significantly increased contribution to the surrounding area. It is quite remarkable that during the construction phase of this project over the next 2-3 years Tanglewood’s economic impact will rise to $127 million, providing an increased work force to the region, along with other benefits essential to the area’s success as one of the country’s leading summertime tourist destinations and premier places for art and culture,” said Volpe.
More than 350,000 people attend Tanglewood concerts each summer, with nearly 84% visiting from outside of Berkshire County and 49% visiting from outside the state; the average visitor to Tanglewood spends 3.8 days in the Berkshires. Overall visitor expenditures contribute more than $43 million in economic activity to Berkshire County. Tanglewood visitors also patronize many other Berkshire area institutions and take part in various activities throughout the area, helping to contribute to the region’s overall vitality. As an example, 13.4% of Tanglewood patrons visit attend the Norman Rockwell Museum and 14.2% the Clark Art Institute.
In addition, second-home owners attracted to the region primarily by their interest in Tanglewood pay more than $13 million per year in residential property taxes to communities throughout Berkshire County, a number that represents an important source of revenue for local governments.
During the period of construction of the new four-building complex in support of the Tanglewood Music Center and the new Tanglewood Learning Institute scheduled to open in summer 2019, the festival’s economic impact is expected to rise to $127 million per year, an 110% increase over the $60 million 2008 number.
In an average year, Tanglewood creates between 930 and 1100 jobs in the region; during the construction period of the new building project, fall 2017-spring 2019, this number will increase to nearly 1400. These jobs increase labor income directly through payroll outlays and the purchase of goods and services but also indirectly as vendors and their employees themselves spend their incomes making local purchases. The total impact adds about $35 million to the region’s total labor income, an amount which is expected to increase to about $45 million during the construction of the new buildings. During this period, it is estimated that Tanglewood’s economic impact reduces the unemployment rate in the region by about 1.5 percentage points.