Taste report blasts council
IT’S the vibrant and welcoming community spirit that keeps the Sands Family Circus coming back to the Cygnet Folk Festival.
Barring a seven-year period when he was on the mainland, Mark Sands has had a long history with the festival dating back about two decades.
“It’s a great Tasmanian country town in a beautiful location,” he said.
“We get a great range of people coming here.”
Mr Sands and his seven children are passing on their skills in a series of workshops at this year’s festival, including two today.
“We want to inspire people with our acts and get people in a festive mood,” he said.
Artistic director for the festival, Erin Collins, expects about 6000 patrons to visit Cygnet during the weekend.
With 13 venues and 400 performers on site, there will be plenty to keep families entertained.
“The big national and international acts will continue performing today,” she said.
“The quality of musicianship is astonishing as well as the support they all give each other.”
But as the festival grows in size, Ms Collins said it may need financial support from the State Government to sustain it into the future. HOBART City Council’s lack of vision, unclear budget parameters and poor planning has hurt the reputation of the Taste of Tasmania, a new report says.
A council report into the future of the festival, which did not take into account this year’s event, shows that to meet community expectations the Taste must continue with a budget of at least $1.6 million.
The report notes seven issues regarding the festival:
— The council needs to commit to Taste for a period of time with a clear vision for what it wants the festival to be.
— Historically, the budget for the event has been set year to year usually in July but sometimes not until September. This has led to a “cut and paste” approach. — Council budgets are handed down in July giving festival organisers less than six months to plan Taste.
— This year, the council delegated all authority regarding Taste fees and charges to the general manager which has removed much of the politics from the event. — Often the festival is left with people with insuf- ficient skill sets placing pressure on staff and raises the question: is the council providing a safe workplace?
— The festival has been historically viewed as disappointing, tired and dull. — Council seeks sponsorship from August to October when most large corporations have set their sponsorship budgets. Due to negative public perception, sponsors do not want to be associated with Taste.
Approaches to the State Government have been made late in the year making meaningful discussion difficult.
The council invested $1.6 million in the 2018-19 festival and a similar commitment for the next five years was advised in the report.
The community, culture and events committee on Wednesday instead opted to survey Hobartians and ask them if they want to continue funding Taste.
Councillor Bill Harvey voted against the motion.
“To go out and ask a handful of people what they think of Taste and whether or not we should fund it is poor governance,” he said.
“Let’s look at the 260,000 patrons who went through the gates because I think that’s a ringing endorsement of this festival.”