Report to be released on the finances of cancelled wellness festival
The inaugural wellness festival, which was set to take place from November 14-18, was cancelled at the last minute and downsized to a community weekend due to organisational challenges and unforeseen financial costs. Singer Kate Ceberano and artist David Bromley were the creative force behind the festival which was originally set to include almost 100 events lifestyle and wellness, music, food and the arts.
Daylesford Macedon Tourism Association chair Noel Harvey blamed the cancellation on “significant increases in the cost of running the festival” combined with a significant shortfall in the sponsorship target they had hoped for. Most of the funding for the cancelled festival went towards outsourcing its governance to public relations firm Flourish PR after Daylesford Macedon Tourism’s former chief Judith Isherwood stepped aside, while the remainder of the funding went towards marketing the festival.
The organisation’s decision to take out full page advertising in Virgin Airline’s in-flight magazine was part of a bigger marketing plan, according to Harvey.
“We have an ongoing relationship with Virgin,” he told The Courier. “We promote our region quite a bit through their magazine and have a couple of deals going. As part of that arrangement, we also decided to promote the festival.”
Five hundred limited edition t-shirts on which original David Bromley artwork was printed was also a pricey marketing ploy, with around a quarter of the shirts sold.
Speaking to The Courier, new Daylesford Macedon Tourism Association chief Steve Wroe said ticket sales had been refunded.
“Even though the festival has hurt us financially, I have honoured my commitments to those who were involved in the original festival,” he said.
“For me, relationships and supporting organisations and community businesses is a top priority. I am reaching out to partners, stakeholders and small businesses to find out what they really need from us as a tourism board.”