Report by the City Economist finds that in 2014, 3.3 million people attended outdoor events in San Francisco – including festivals, parades, and street fairs – generating $1.1 billion in economic activity and supporting 9,300 private sector jobs


San Francisco Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener released a study conducted by the City Economist reporting that outdoor events – such as festivals, parades, and street fairs – are a significant economic driver for San Francisco. In 2014, these events generated $1.1 billion in economic impact and drew 3.3 million attendees, whose spending supported 9,300 private sector jobs in industries like retail, food services, hospitality, and transportation. The report -- available here -- was based on various data points, including an extensive survey of 3,644 people who attended outdoor events in 2014.

“San Francisco loves its festivals and parades, and now we know that these events, in addition to their cultural significance for the city, provide significant economic benefits as well,” said Supervisor Wiener. “Whether it’s a large celebration like Pride or a neighborhood festival, people come to our city and frequent our local businesses. This report puts into hard numbers what we already know – that our outdoor events are not only a huge part of our culture, but are essential to the health of our economy.”

“In large part, many outdoor events are free or low cost. Not only are these events vital to our City’s economic well being, they provide unfettered access for everyone to enjoy artistic and cultural offerings as well as entertainment,” says Demetri Moshoyannis, Executive Director of Folsom Street Events and Vice President of the Entertainment Commission. “I hope this report inspires a newfound level of support for outdoor events from all sectors of the City.”

The 79 events included in the study include street fairs, outdoor concerts, fund-raising runs and walks, and many cultural festivals. Events range in size from massive events like San Francisco Pride and the Chinese New Year Parade to large concerts like Outsidelands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to smaller neighborhood events like the Union Street Festival and the Fillmore Jazz Festival. A full list of events can be viewed in the report.

The report by the City Economist reveals several key findings from 2014, including:

  • $330 million in direct spending at these events
  • $1.1 billion in direct and indirect economic impact on the city’s economy
  • Food spending at outdoor events equivalent to 10% of citywide spending at restaurants and bars
  • Of the 3.3 million who attended these events, 58% came from out of town, and 85% of those visitors said the event was the main reason they visited San Francisco
  • Outdoor events sustain a significant share of jobs in the hospitality industry, including 7% of restaurant jobs and 6% of hotel employment 

The report will help guide policymakers in determining how best to support outdoor events.  Currently, city bureaucratic processes create hardship for many events.  While larger events can absorb the cost and uncertainty of the process, for smaller events, the costly process can mean the difference between surviving and folding.

Supervisors Wiener will call for a hearing at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting where the City Economist will present the findings from the report. 

Contribute Volunteer


Paid for by Re-Elect Scott Wiener for State Senate 2020. FPPC # 1392654.

Mailing Address: 5940 College Ave., Suite F, Oakland, CA 94618