THE Beaufort Street Festival will “take a break” this year.
Organisers from the non-profit Beaufort Street Network say the festival has achieved its goal of putting the street on the map and economic conditions are now making it tough to fund.
Network chair Pam Herron says; “it’s time to try some new ideas. We’re planning on a number of events throughout the year and looking at other ways we can create a better Beaufort Street… the Network may relaunch a smaller community celebration in future years.
“Funding the festival each year is challenging, particularly for a non-profit community organisation in the current economic conditions.”
The festival was sponsored largely by Vincent and Stirling city councils and Lotterywest.
Festival founder and now Vincent mayor John Carey has long lobbied for the state government to help fund the festival through Tourism WA. They didn’t come to the table.
Apart from companies JumpClimb and the Event Agency who were paid for their time, everything else was pulled together by volunteers who poured in long hours, spending the better part of the year to prepare for the one -day event.
The festival was a hit from the first year when around 50,000 people turned out in 2010, and reaching around 160,000 at its peak. The only criticism anyone’s been able to muster is that it’s too popular and the streets get utterly packed.
Ms Herron says by holding smaller events (the first one is a Crust pizza arvo at Mt Lawley’s Forrest Park croquet club on March 12) they’ll be able to engage the community across the year.
“The BSF really put Beaufort Street on the map. It’s time to try some new ideas.”
Mr Carey says the festival achieved its goal to raise the street’s profile and it’s the right decision to call it a day: “I don’t think this is a bad thing, I think this year the Network can look at smaller community-based events to engage locals… and not have all its energy sucked into one big event.”
It was a massive undertaking for organisers to pull the festival together, leaving little time for other projects: “I had a full time job and I was putting in 20 hours a week [on the first festival],” Mr Carey says. “I was working weekends, most nights, and it achieved a lot of great things but it just got too big, too unwieldy, there wasn’t enough funds to manage so
many people, and in some sense it did lose that local component.
“Things change. At the time Beaufort Street really was a leader in seeing a whole new push for Street Festivals: Look at Vic Park or what Subiaco’s trying to do, what other council’s are trying to do, they come to Vincent and say we want that kind of festival.”
by DAVID BELL