The carnival is over
SUBIACO’S popular Subi Street Festival has been canned.
The annual December festival started 15 years ago and attracted a record 80,000 people last year.
City of Subiaco place manager and Visit Subiaco director Matthew Gould said he made the decision late last month after the council delayed approving the marketing plan and budget for almost six months.
“My Visit Subiaco team confirmed that they usually would have started planning for it in January or February. The City did not have any resources, nothing was planned, there had been enormous staff turnover and we didn’t have the $300,000 we needed,” he said.
Subiaco chief executive Stephen Tindale said the council deferred approving its marketing program and budget to reduce the compulsory business levy by 30 per cent this financial year.
SUBIACO place manager Matthew Gould says he is planning a series of events in the lead-up to Christmas that will help fill the void left by scrapping the 2014 Subi Street Festival.
Mr Gould said he understood the street party was well-established, but it was better to call it off rather than “do it half-cocked” and risk negative feedback.
He said he postponed informing long-term sponsors and participating businesses, such as the Western Suburbs Weekly, Nova 93.7 and Hiddlestone Electrics, that the Subi Street Festival had been cancelled.
“We wanted to make sure we had something constructive to take to them, to say ‘the festival isn’t happening, but here are other things that you can be involved in’,” Mr Gould said.
“Rather than bring in a festival over a few hours, I really want to do something our community can take ownership of.
“My team are currently talking to all the businesses at Station Street precinct and the end of Rokeby Road to see if they want to be involved in an exciting event we have planned for October 18.”
Mr Gould said Visit Subiaco would host a block party and public art installation events next month, a hawkers markets and a fresh food market along Rokeby Road on Thursday nights.
“We are also organising something for December that has never been done before called the 16 Days of Subi,” he said.
Subiaco Hotel co-owner Judy Monaghan said the hotel had been involved with the Subi Street Festival for many years by organising the street band and running an alfresco bar.
“I can only justify losing the festival in the interim of re-jigging events in Subiaco,” Mrs Monaghan said. “Hopefully this can be a dynamic move, so we can move forward rather than go backwards.”
Subiaco Business Association president Geoff Parnell said the business community was in favour of running events throughout the year that brought people to Subiaco on a consistent basis.
“I think there will be a mixed reaction to the Subi Street Festival being cancelled; some community members and business owners will feel let down,” Mr Parnell said.
Hiddlestone Electrics accounts manager Natalie Hiddlestone, whose late father Vern Hiddlestone had organised the street lighting for the festival since its inception, said she was very disappointed.
“Dad loved the street festival, he would definitely be making a real noise about it being cancelled,” Ms Hiddlestone said. “I think it’s a terrible shame that council didn’t do everything they possibly could to continue this tried and true, very successful event that brought so many people to Subiaco.”
The Subi Street Festival has been taken off the streets.