FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Shannon White has been forced out of her position as executive director at the Three Rivers Festival as the event's board reorganizes in an attempt to become solvent and enhance its reputation as a major regional event.
According to the Journal-Gazette, the shakeup occurred after a board meeting was held last week on the future of the event, prompted in part, by a consultant's assessment of the 9-day fest. The consultant's report was described by committee members as blunt but those members declined to offer comment about specific recommendations contained therein.
Board president Jerry White said that he intends to form an ad-hoc committee of board members to look at ways to reinvigorate the festival's management.
"We needed to make some changes, needed to remold the festival," White told the Journal-Gazette.
The nonprofit festival has been experiencing fiscal challenges lately and according to the Associated Press their tax return for the last two years showed losses of $122,630 in 2006 and $115,487, reducing the group's cash supply from more than $270,000 in 2005 to a mere $36,667 at the end of 2007. Jerry White was quick to note however, that he didn't feel the responsibility for the losses rested with former executive director Shannon White.
Additionally, the former executive director Shannon White had expressed some doubts about the attendance metrics, stating that she felt attendance at last year's event was closer to 400,000 than the reported 500,000.
"That was one of those things that made the decision really hard. Things improved under Shannon, no question." Jerry White told the Journal-Gazette.
Despite the ongoing shakeup in the festival's management, they are hard at work for the 41st installment of the festival in 2009.
"People kind of wondered there for years whether the festival's time had passed, and the answer is 'no,'" White said. "We’re banking that '09 is going to be better than '08." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers