The annual Falls Music and Arts Festival, which just wrapped things up over the weekend in Lorne, Victoria, and Marion Bay, Tasmania has indicated that without government support the future of the event in Tasmania is dire.
Speaking to The Mercury after two sold out events over the weekend that featured a slew of local acts and internationals such as Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, and Fleet Foxes; the organisers have said that without funding they can’t see Falls Festival returning to Tasmania in 2012.
“We’re an organisation that doesn’t always ask (for funding), but … it does need that support,” promoter Simon Daly said. “This is a great opportunity for the Tasmanian Government not only to ensure the longevity of the festival, but to work with us to ensure that ticket prices (remain low).
“If we don’t get the funding,” he continued. “I think it would be very difficult to stage the Falls Festival in Tasmania in 2012.” Daly said that despite the Tasmanian leg of the festival being run in the state for nine years the government has thus far contributed less than $900,000 in funding. Daly estimates that the events has injected more than $150 million in direct and indirect funding over the same time period.
But the issue is that the Tasmanian leg doesn’t make enough money to make it worthwhile for the busy promoters. Last year they profited a modest $50,000 in Tasmania after the leg cost $4.2 million to put on.
“The events budget last year was cut by $1.5 million they’re the kind of cuts that put events like this in jeopardy and the kind of cuts that put the economy at risk,” Tourism Industry Council CEO Luke Martin said. “Government support of these events are investments, not subsidies.”
“It’s about actually creating activity and reasons for people to come to Tasmania”, he continued. “It fills our hotel rooms, it boosts our retail outlets and creates activity that generates employment and revenue for the state.”
But the Tasmanian state government won’t make any guarantees about future funding for the festival. “We’ve committed with the Falls organisers to working through Events Tasmania to see if there’s any efficiencies or cost-savings that can be found to keep the Falls Festival in Tasmania”, Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said.
“It’s important to remember this is a time of budget restraints in Tasmania.” He also was quick to point out that the government had recently spent $287,000 on permanent infrastructure for the site in Marion Bay. The Falls Festival promoters are asking for the government to commit to $350,000 a year in funding to ensure the future of the festival, up from just under the current $100,000 a year.