Cost woes put end to events

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

The Pil­bara’s ma­jor events cal­en­dar for 2017 is look­ing sparse af­ter or­gan­is­ers of food and drink extravaganza Fluid Fes­ti­val this month be­came the lat­est in a se­ries to pull the pin over cost con­cerns.

Fluid Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser and Onyx Events’ events di­rec­tor Sean Throssell said af­ter do­ing “a fair bit of plan­ning” to­wards the event, in­clud­ing lin­ing up Thirsty Merc as a head­line act, or­gan­is­ers had been un­able to se­cure enough spon­sor­ship to go ahead with­out tak­ing on sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial risk.

“Peo­ple want to go to events but you have to get 1000 (peo­ple) out,” he said.

“It’s a lack of spon­sor­ship and fund­ing. And there is a lack of ap­pro­pri­ate venues.”

The Fluid Fes­ti­val broke even in its first year in 2015 but ran at a loss last year de­spite a line-up of high­pro­file mu­sic acts in­clud­ing for­mer Noise­works and INXS front­man Jon Stevens. The news comes af­ter Blanche Bar can­celled mu­sic fes­ti­val Beats in the Heat be­cause of eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties, the Red Dog Re­lay was scrapped over a lack of coun­cil fund­ing and Wrapped Cre­ations dis­con­tin­ued Gos­sip Fes­ti­val.

In Port Hed­land, the fate of premier Pil­bara mu­sic event the North West Fes­ti­val is still up in the air, with the coun­cil hav­ing ap­proved it but still seek­ing spon­sor­ship to get it off the ground.

Mr Throssell said there was a chance Fluid Fes­ti­val would go ahead next year and in the mean­time Onyx would hold other, smaller bou­tique events later in 2017.

Wrapped Cre­ations event di­rec­tor David Yakas said the Pil­bara’s changed eco­nomic cli­mate and de­mo­graph­ics meant there was a de­mand for dif­fer­ent types of events and or­gan­is­ers had to adapt.

He said his com­pany had ex­pe­ri­enced suc­cess by hold­ing a re­laxed

foodie event, Brew and the Moo, in­stead of Gos­sip in 2016, which had been more af­ford­able for both or­gan­is­ers and at­ten­dees.

“We still spend the same amount of time and ef­fort putting to­gether the event,” he said.

“It’s just we avoid the cost of get­ting a big head­line act.”

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said there was still a “great mix” of both City and pri­vately run events on in the wider Kar­ratha area and the City’s events bud­get re­mained strong.

“We have in­creased event fund­ing with the in­tro­duc­tion of the City Cen­tre Ac­ti­va­tion Grant with LandCorp, which pro­vides for an ad­di­tional $300,000 over two years,” he said. “The over­all bud­get for arts and cul­ture events this fi­nan­cial year is $1.25 mil­lion.

“While en­ter­tain­ment-style events con­tinue to be the key fo­cus for the City, we are also keen to at­tract events that de­liver an eco­nomic re­turn to the re­gion, sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses and eco­nomic growth.”

Mr Throssell said the de­mand for mu­sic fes­ti­vals was still there but they had be­come too dear for pri­vate com­pa­nies to put on with­out be­ing heav­ily sub­sidised, es­pe­cially in re­gional ar­eas.

“They’re all re­ally well-sup­ported, we just don’t have that spon­sor­ship avail­able,” he said. “We would sim­plify it a lot next time round.”

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