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"For Adidas Duramo Intersport years, we used to double the size of the festival every year," he said. "Doubling it was too much; we never had enough volunteers, port a johns."

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Last year, a new sponsorship from Aloft Hotels was key after bad weather and an unexpected disaster: a Metropolitan Sewerage District pipe broke just days before the fest, and raw sewage poured into the river. Aloft support compensated for an attendance dip of about 300 people below expectations.

off season and weekly close to the festival date, May 2 4 this year.

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Through the years, the French Broad River Festival has donated more than $150,000 to local and national charities, including American Whitewater, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of WNC, Caring for Children, Homeward Bound, Hope for Holt, MANNA FoodBank and Hot Springs Community Learning Center.

Each of these events slated for May is vastly different: Pickering has produced the arts filled Lake Eden Arts Festival for 19 years; Hope Gill, a local poet, directs the seventh annual ; while Kern and four close friends have produced the music and outdoors focused French Broad River Festival for 17 years.

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"And there are tons of emails all the time," he said.

High attendance certainly means success, Kern said, but feedback from individual ticket holders and charities who benefit from ticket sales make the year round effort worth it.

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Madison J. Cripps, of Cripps Puppets, performs for a crowd at the Lake Eden Arts Festival at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain in 2013.(Photo: Robert Bradley, Citizen Times File Photo)

Related: Q with Big Love organizer

They shifted to a more sustainable growth pattern, Kern said, of about 10 percent a year. Last year, the fest drew about 2,400 people. "We would like to grow that to about 2,800 3,000 people and cap it at that."

Since 2013, six major Asheville entertainment events and festivals, from decades old block parties to zombie walks, have been put on pause or canceled outright. Many organizers cited money Adidas Energy Boost 2 Grey

´╗┐Asheville festival success tied to mission

The festival's charity focus makes a "huge difference" when it comes to forging partnerships with businesses. "We also have local bands who will give a discount on their fees" because of the charity support.

make it. I don't blame them for that, if someone gets fed up because they are not making money and quit. We just all have altruistic bones in our bodies."

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Adidas Duramo Intersport

Adidas Duramo Intersport

French Broad River Festival

These myriad activities, ranging from rhyming to rafting, are connected by motivation: Each event is designed around mission not money. Since 2013, six major Asheville entertainment events and festivals, from decades old block parties to zombie walks, have been put on pause or canceled outright. Many organizers cited money woes or unendurable infrastructure and planning limitations as reasons for the struggles.

The five organizers have full time jobs outside of the festival; Kern, for instance, is a homebuilder. He handles logistics for the French Broad River Festival, from accounting to the contracts and permits. The group meets monthly to plan during the Best Adidas Energy Boost

Related: Roundup of recently canceled festivals

"Through it all, we have survived partly because we are friends and we can say the tough things to each other," he said. "There have been a few times over the years when we had to tell each other to stop being slack."

All three are event organizers who produced large scale festivals when the economy flourished and when it failed. Under sunny and stormy skies.

woes or unendurable infrastructure and planning limitations as reasons for the struggles.

ASHEVILLE For Jennifer Pickering, success is a once shy young musician playing trumpet on stage in front of his beaming parents.

The Hot Springs tradition started as "a party on the river" after the founders finished kayaking on the French Broad River. But the number of people who came to that party skyrocketed.

Organizers have learned valuable lessons in the past two decades. One example: Delegate responsibility and hold others accountable to complete tasks, even if they just got married. Or moved. Or had children.

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The festival seeks sponsorships, and has increased those efforts in recent years to increase sustainability. Often times, Kern will approach businesses and tell them to give 70 percent of the sponsorship money directly to the charity (this year's event is a benefit for American Whitewater, Homeward Bound and Hot Springs Community Learning Center).

One of Laura Hope Gill's proudest moments came after a webcast reading, when she saw that people in 18 nations had tuned in. Matthew Kern's achievement metric? The number of hugs he received from thrilled festival goers.

Another lesson: They have to approach sponsors before the new year, since most businesses and organizers plan budgets in advance.

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"We don't do it for the money," said Kern. "If all of sudden we started making money, that would be a great thing. If you are in it for the money, I think that's why a lot of (festivals) don't Harden 1 Cargo

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