TASMANIA could be at risk of losing one of its iconic summer festivals and compromising another if they do not receive government funding.
Nanjing Night Net

The Falls Festival at Marion Bay has called for funding to keep the event going and the Taste of Tasmania is seeking funding so it can keep the event free for patrons.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said he would like to see an independent advisory board established to determine what events received funding.

“Tourism value, economic and cultural value should be on equal footing when considering the merits of an event rather than on political terms,” he said.

“We need to stop looking at event funding as a subsidy and look at how we can get visitors to the state and grow our economy.”

Both the Falls Festival and the Taste of Tasmania entice a large contingent of interstate and international visitors who stay on average 10 days and inject about $30 million each into the state’s struggling economy.

Falls Festival organiser Simon Daly said the Tasmanian festival costs $4.2 million to stage with a return of $50,000 and is mostly carried financially by the Lorne Falls Festival in Victoria.

“We have never been a money driven entity, but when you reach the point where the festival may be lost here something needs to be done,” Mr Daly said.

“In terms of investment it is a no brainer, we have put the runs on the board in terms of attracting people to the state and showcasing what Tasmania has to offer,” he said.

The Taste of Tasmania has always been a free event largely subsidised by Hobart ratepayers while showcasing the whole state.

Hobart Mayor Damon Thomas said yesterday he would like to see the event become cost neutral but introducing a cover charge would be a last resort.

Mr Martin agreed the event should remain free, saying that introducing an entry fee may compromise the event.

“It is a fantastic event and works on the model it has, any changes with the introduction to an entry fee should be looked at carefully,” he said.

Festivale in the North receives no government funding and as a result must charge an entry fee to cover costs and keep the event running.

“I don’t think the community really has any idea how much it costs to put on an event, they simply think it just happens,” Festivale chairwoman Lou Clarke said.

“We start with a blank canvas (City Park) and we have to bring in all the infrastructure like toilets, tents and security.”

Ms Clarke said the cost of running Festivale and the Taste of Tasmania were on a par, costing about $750,000.

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